VIRAL: Lyceum alumna accuses former college dean of harassment
Lyceum of the Philippines University – Manila (LPU) is under fire after mishandling a case of sexual harassment by one its former deans to a Lyceum alumna.
The issue went viral after KV Rojas, an International Relations Graduate of LPU posted on Facebook last February 5, 2017 (Saturday) the details of the incident of the harassment.
Photo credits: Rappler
Based on her post, the incident started when she set an appointment with Reynaldo Arcilla, former dean of the College of International Relations (CIR), December 2 last year to get her recommendation letter for graduate studies.
Upon meeting the dean, a 30-minute long conversation ensued which was mostly talks on Rojas’ college background, future career plans, and politics. The dean later offered to drive Rojas home to which she agreed in good faith.
During the time it took to getting to the car and the drive home, that was when Arcilla demonstrated acts of sexual harassment by giving malicious comments, asking personal and intrusive questions, touching her lips, and even blackmailing Rojas that he will not issue her recommendation letter if Rojas did not kiss him.
After the events, Rojas decided to report the incident to LPU on December 5, 2016. The university’s HR Director Myrna Reyes received Roja’s letter on December 9, 2016 to which Reyes responded by arranging a meeting for Rojas with LPU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Conrado Iñigo Jr. on December 16, 2016.
They informed Rojas that two scenarios were possible: 1) The Dean will admit it and he will resign; 2) The Dean will not and there will be a hearing committee composed of 7 people from different sectors within the LPU.
On December 20, 2016, Rojas was informed thru a text from the HR office that the President of LPU notified Arcillas of the complaint but has yet to reply.
By January 4, 2017 the HR office called Rojas to a meeting with Arcillas so he can apologize, however the meeting did not push through and was rescheduled on January 11, 2017.
The new meeting date was cancelled again. On January 12, 2017, Arcillas personally contacted Rojas to apologize without specifying his offences.
Due to inaction from the LPU administration, Rojas approached the Commission on Higher Education for advice and the latter recommended that she will write a follow up letter to the LPU President to which Rojas complied.
The HR office later contacted Rojas on January 15, 2017 that Dean Arcillas was asked to resign from his post. Rojas requested for Arcillas’ resignation documents and apology letter.
The next day, the HR forwarded the documents Rojas requested however the apology letter of Arcillas did not address the sexual harassment part of the incident. Instead, Arcillas only apologized for telling Rojas during the driving incident that “panget ka siguro noon”.
When Rojas contacted HR regarding the inaction on the sexual harassment of Arcillas, the administration informed her that they are unable to act any further on the case because Arcillas was no longer under their regulation.
Rojas took to social media to raise awareness on these cases of sexual harassment, as well as to criticize her alma mater for failing to give due justice to her case.
Republic Act No. 7877 (Anti-Sexual Harassment Act) penalizes these crimes with imprisonment of one to six months, a fine of Php 10,000 to Php 20,000, or both.
In her two-part post of the incident, this is Rojas’ story:
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE REAL REASON BEHIND THE DEAN’S RESIGNATION, KEEP ON READING
I was able to make an appointment with the Dean last December 02, 2016, Friday at 6:00 p.m., to get my recommendation letter for graduate studies. I came from my work and was able to make it and arrived at the College of International Relations (CIR) office around 5:50 to 5:53 p.m.
Pagkadating ko, binuksan ko kaagad ung office door pero ang daming tao, and I think student leaders ung mga yun, nagmeeting ata sila kasama nila si Dean. So sinara ko and I waited outside. Nung nakita ko na silang nag-aalisan, mga 6:25 na yun, I immediately went inside.
May girl na nagtanong sa akin, ano daw pakay ko. I said I have an appointment with the Dean. She went inside Dean’s office and I waited, then after a while lumabas na sya and told me to come in. I was so nervous when I step in inside his office. Takot kasi ako sa kanya noong estudyante palang ako. He asked me what I want, who am I, and told me he doesn’t remember me daw. . He said “Panget ka siguro noon”, I just brushed it off and said “I’ll take that as a compliment Sir”. He asked me a lot of things such as: my plan if ever I will be accepted in my chosen school, if I’m thinking of taking the FSO exam, my grade in his subjects, what am I doing now, and if I’m reading his column. Our conversation went well inside his office. We even touched subjects about Duterte and Trump.
I gave him my draft of the recommendation letter (I heard kasi na hindi talaga sya gumagawa nun at estudyante din nya nag-ddraft, so nag-prepare na ako). He had some minor corrections. Before that, he asked me kung yun na daw ba ppirmahan nya. I told him na it’s not because he has to do it online, ung draft ko is guide ko lang for him. Knowing how busy he is. Sabi pa nya na ano daw ba yan gagawin pa online. I needed his e-mail and his number so the school can contact him. Binigay naman nya.
We talked for more or less 30 minutes. He stood up and he said he is going home. He asked me if I’m also heading home and where. He said he could drop me off near my place, I agreed to be drop off at Coastal.
We went down the stairs and he went inside the clinic, we saw the guard at Gate 2, he held my elbow and said “Dito kita rarape-pin”. I gave him a quizzical look and said, “Sir?.” Medyo kinabahan na ako nun pero nung nakita ko may tao naman sa loob, naging okay naman ako. It turns out he will get his blood pressure check in the clinic. I waited for him inside and there were three people inside the room, while the guy is getting his BP check, the Dean told them that I was his student and he can’t remember me and wondering if I’m ugly before.
After that, we headed where his car’s parked. (sa loob pa to ng LPU, sa may quadrangle) The driver was already inside, we took a seat but apparently the Dean left his IPAD in the office, the driver went to get it.
We were alone inside the car. He suddenly said, “You really turn me on”, I was in complete shock and was not able to say anything. He tried to grab my face and said “Pa-kiss nga”, I refused. The driver came in. I was already scared but I thought the Dean will not do any inappropriate behaviour in front of his driver. We’re finally outside Lyceum. The Dean grabbed my hand and said, “Bakit ang lamig ng kamay mo, kinakabahan ka sa akin noh?”, I said “No, sir” and pull my hand back. He get it again. I opened up topics like asking him if he remembers any of my classmates. I showed him pictures of them and said he does remember the names. I was browsing my phone to look for more pictures and he touch my lips, and said “You have a very kissable lips”. I took his hands away immediately. He touch my lips for more or less three times throughout the ride. He even said that he will not do my recommendation if I didn’t give him a kiss.
I can’t fully remember the chronology of the comments that he made, but I surely do remember verbatim of such. He asked me if I have a boyfriend. He asked me if I am still a virgin. He said he went to Thailand, and told me, in a painfully slow and malicious manner, the best part of his business trip is the massage because it has happy ending. The question If I am still a virgin was not only asked once by the Ambassador, he asked me a lot of times, and I just keep saying next question or I just shrugged it off. He told me that one of the passers of the FSO was asked during the interview of the color of her panties are and what material. It seems like, he is making me feel that asking if I am still a virgin is justifiable as such kind of questions were asked in FSO. Inside the car, he also make similar comments that he don’t really remember me and maybe I was ugly before. He even asked “Nagpagawa ka ba?”, he was wondering if I did something in my face. Throughout the ride, he was holding my hand and constantly squeezing it, I felt like he tried to reach until my elbows. But I would try to pretend that I need to check my phone or get something from my bag to pull my hand back. I think I was redirecting his attention when I asked kung naalala nya pa mga batchmates ko, but after nun babalik na naman sya sa mga bastos na comments nya. Around like 7:45 to 8:00 p.m., I alighted from his car in Coastal.
Pagkatapos ng pangyayari, nung una parang hindi totoo. The person I highly respected before could do such things. Wala din talaga akong naririnig na may issue syang sexual harassment that time. Nasa bus na ako nun sa coastal. Nasa isip ko pa rin ung recommendation letter ko. I informed one friend thru text, sabi pa nya na the dean will never do my recommendation until he gets a piece of me.
Conflicted pa ako kung irereport ko kasi pano kung ako lang pala yung ginawan nya nun, (dahil nga ang taas ng tingin ko sa kanya). Pag-uwi ko, nakatulala lang ako, hindi ko talaga alam yung gagawin. Inaya ako ng mom ko kumain, sabi ko busog na ako tas nagkulong na ako sa kwarto. That’s where I started to think na it’s impossible na isang beses pa lang nya to ginawa, ginawa nya to sa harap ng driver nya ng walang takot. That’s where I started to think I need to complain about this.
LPU’S RESPONSE ON THE COMPLAINT
After the incident, I wrote a letter of complaint last 05 December 2016 addressed to the HR Director of LPU. The letter was received by her office on 09 December 2016. Pinadala ko kasi through courier yun and hand-in. She set up a meeting with me together with the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) on 16 December 2016 to verify what I have written. There was a moment during the meeting that the VPAA asked me how many people already know about this and told me to not tell this to a number of people and to not post in social media whatsoever. In which, I agreed, in confidence to them and hoping to settle the case administratively.
They told me that there will be two scenarios sa case ko, 1) The Dean will admit it and he will resign; 2) The Dean will not and there will be a hearing committee composed of 7 people from different sectors within the LPU. Syempre, Dean will be there to defend his side. Yung second scenario, it made me feel nervous. Syempre, una ung credibility nung pitong taong magddecide, pano kung may impluwensya dun si dean. Second, hindi ko alam kung kaya ko ulit harapin si dean. At the end of the verification of my complaint, the HR and the VP asked me if I get any recommendation from the school, I said no. The VP offered me to write a recommendation letter, in which I decline because I don’t think he can attest to my educational background. They still insist saying that, they have my records and that I am Cum Laude. I insist not to and told them thank you for giving me options. (I felt na they’re trying to appease me eh, as if them writing me the letter could settle the matter right there.)
By 20 December 2016, the HR informed me through SMS that the President of LPU has already notified the Dean of my letter and asked the Dean to reply. I did not receive any copy of it.
By 04 January 2017, the HR called me arranging the meeting with the Dean because he wants to apologize to me. Masyado akong natuwa nun kasi it means I don’t need to be dragged by this case any further and hindi ko na kailagan pa humarap sa committee na sinabi nila. Dahil alam ko how it can drain me emotionally. After our call, naisip ko parang too good to be true ata. Knowing dean, inamin nya nga kaya talaga.
We agreed to have the meeting on 11 January 2017 with the HR present. Not knowing what parts of story is he going to apologize to.
On the day before the agreed meeting, the HR called me that the Dean could not come. Hindi daw pala nabasa ni dean ung text nya, but I remember her texting me na nagconfirm naman si dean dun sa date. (see picture for reference)
By January 11, Ms. Reyes texted me and I quote “Hi KV- Amb. (his surname) will text you re the new date. See u.” and I replied “The Dean will text me? What?” She did not reply for several hours so I texted her again that I was so displeased what how she handles the situation. She called me and she was angry to what I have said. She even said that the school is busy because of the recent hazing issue the school is facing. Hindi na kami nagkakaintindihan at sya pa ang galit, sabi ko I’m eating nung time na yun and I don’t think it’s the right time, in which she replied na, buti pa daw ako kumakain na,she just came from a meeting pa daw. My point is she let the dean texted me. I find it very unbecoming for an HR to let the Dean to just text me, someone who sexually harassed me.
The day after, 12 January 2017, the Dean texted me an apology but did not admit what his real offences are and just admitted that he is sorry for saying “Panget ka siguro noon” and said that it is his only means of saying I am quite attractive. He even said that he hopes that with this apology we shall consider the matter closed. I never heard from the HR that day. (see the text apology)
By 13 January 2017, I went to CHED to ask for advice. I was advised to write a follow-up letter of my complaint and addressed it to the President. Nung mismong araw na yun, nagtype ako sa may UP shopping center of the follow-up letter, tas derecho na agad ako sa school. I cc’d the CHED in the letter. Napareceived ko sya within the day din.
On 15 January 2017 (Sunday), the HR texted me and I quote “Hi KV, please be informed that the President is on top of the matter. Amb has ultimately asked Amb to resign to which Amb will comply. We apologize for delay in the decision coz of due process we had taken. Thanks. Cc Pres Laurel.”
I replied that I need the copy of the resignation letter as well as the written apology, in which she replied that I need to have an undertaking that the matter is closed upon receipt of the documents. In which I agreed in assumption that I will receive a valid written apology and resignation letter.
On 16 January 2017, the HR sent the documents through e-mail and to my surprise, the letter that the Dean signed was the same SMS apology he sent me on 12 January 2017. I texted the HR that these are not his offences and it is sexual harassment. She replied and I quote “Amb (his surname) has resigned effective today Jan 16 and we accepted his resignation so he is no longer under the employ of LPU, sorry, but we have no control of or cannot force him to admit on sexual harassment you stated. Thank you.” (see picture) I replied and said I would need the copy of President signed accepting the Dean’s resignation. She did not respond anymore.
The next day, since I asked for the copy of President signed accepting the Dean’s resignation, the HR forwarded it to me but it was not signed by the President and it was signed by the HR. After which, she texted me that I need to have the undertaking, since they have given me what I want.
But the school especially the HR fails to investigate on this in the first place, the resignation letter and even the acceptance of the Dean’s resignation do not have any sexual harassment words whatsoever. According to the Dean’s resignation, the President advised him to resign, in which I believe, do not commensurate, (if he is really resigned) to what he had done to me and to other victims.
I know other victims, too. A lot of them gets their dreams shattered, respect gone towards the authority, and traumatized. Some of them chose not to go back sa school. They are afraid, in which I am too. But, this has to stop. I exhausted all the options I could think of and this case has been dragging me and affecting me, my work, and my family for almost 2 and a half months.
As much as possible, I agreed to settle this matter administratively, but I failed. I failed because I believe in them. I believe that I will get justice from the President, VPAA, and from the HR. But, I was wrong.
I felt na I should not be afraid, because that’s the feeling the Dean wants to instil in us; to be afraid. That’s why he thinks na walang mali sa ginagawa nya. We all looked up to him and respected him. I, personally, just give my respect to him right off the bat knowing that he was once a representative of our country to different places. But he is completely the wrong person you will ever go to if you ask him for help. You will be taken advantage of before he can even help you.
I am posting this to raise awareness and there might be other people that are experiencing the same thing, I don’t want her/them to feel that their issue is isolated.
I am posting this, kasi nakakapagod na, and I don’t think I will get justice that I need If I communicated pa sa school. I exhausted all my options.
The thing is, I don’t imagine myself and my family to be dragged by this case pa sa korte. I know the repercussions and consequences. (Note: I went to PAO and IBP already) What I want is for the school to recognize that they handle this case wrongly.
Lalo na si HR, pinag-resign lang nila tas hindi na nila kargo? Kung hindi ko pa hihingin ung approval ng resignation ni dean, hindi pa nila ibbigay. Pakiramdam ko noon uutakan pa ako, na since walang approval, the dean could just go back sa school.
And kay dean, I was under the illusion na we have the best dean in the university. I WAS so proud na I was his student and the college is under his supervision. Kasi non-conformist sya, pinaglalaban nya yung tingin nyang tama. Pero hindi pala, ilusyon lang lahat. After the incident, I really felt na my education was a lie. Yung kolehiyo inidolo ko ng buong apat na taon, ay pugad pala ng isang manyak.
I don’t know what should be my next steps, from the two lawyers I got free legal advice, they told me I should write the school again, to give them another chance. Pero para ano, aasa nanaman ako na may kayang gawin ang school? They had treated this case insensitively, and I could not just let it happen and isipin nilang tama na ang ginawa nila.
Source: Rappler, KV Rojas
VIRAL: Lyceum alumna accuses former college dean of harassment Reviewed by Newsinfo Learn on February 11, 2017 Rating: