By William Casis i FilAm Star Correspondent
Despite the dismissal of the Ateneo De Manila University student for beating another student, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called for a review of Republic Act No. 10627 or the anti-bullying law to give it more teeth.
“Obviously, there is a need to revisit Republic Act No. 10627,” Enrile said in an interview.
Enrile said he wanted to push for a thorough consideration of the facts of the case to lay down the groundwork for amendments.
“First, I have to re-study the present law. Second, I have to study the facts of each of the incidents that so far happened, violating the law. Third, I have to hear the concerned parties. Only then will I be able to craft the necessary amendatory legislation,” Enrile, who is seeking a comeback to the Senate in the 2019 mid-term elections, said.
He stressed that Ateneo’s efforts to prevent further spread of the viral video will not be effective.
“I do not think the desire of Ateneo de Manila to stop the spread of the video will fly. That would seriously curtail the freedom of the people to inform and to be informed,”
In an earlier statement on his Facebook page, Enrile admitted that he was also a victim of bullying as a second year student in high school at Aparri, Cagayan.
“One morning, when I was on my way to my classroom on the second floor of our school building, four older male students rushed out of a door behind me and attacked me with their knives. I was completely taken by surprise and surrounded. I dropped my books and parried their assaults with my bare hands,” he recounted, adding:
“To save my life, I managed to jump out of a window. Upon landing on the ground below, blood was oozing from the right side of my neck, my left arm had a long and ugly cut, my belly was ripped, and my shirt and pants were red with blood.”
After the incident, the former Senate President said that he filed against his attackers. He shared that his attackers were “kids of some members of the Board of Trustees of the school” and had “all the lawyers in town” while he had no lawyer. As a result, his case was later dismissed and he was even expelled from school.
He further said, “This incident defined the course of my life. I wanted to be an engineer because math was easy for me but I shifted to law because of the injustice I had suffered.”
“Parents should go out of their way to inculcate to their children the virtue of kindness to others, especially those who are deprived and powerless. To the young people: learn to exercise charity to your neighbors, especially the weak and needy. Do not use your gift from God — your keen mind, your physical strength, your affluence, your power, or whatever to take advantage or dominate others,” he added.
Sen. De Lima, aired concern over the reported incidents of bullying involving Filipino youth even as she called on the authorities to seriously probe the occurrences to find out its root cause.
A known human rights defender, De Lima underscored the importance of knowing why bullying happened in the first place to find ways that would prevent it from happening again.
“This isn’t schoolyard bullying, this sounds like expert-level sadism. He learned it from somewhere,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 239.
“And that’s the important thing to investigate: where or why is a child so young exposed to such level of abuse? Is there abuse in the family? In his circle of relatives? At school?
Among his peers? From figures of authority?” she asked.
De Lima’s statement was issued after several videos of a student from the Ateneo de Manila Junior High School showing him verbally and physically assaulting another teen inside their campus became viral on Facebook.
One of the videos showed the student asking his schoolmate to choose between “bugbog o dignidad?” only to later proceed to beating up the latter when he refused to answer the question. (AFP)