AN OFFICIAL from Cebu Technological University (CTU) has clarified that a sexual harassment complaint against a professor has been investigated and dismissed due to technicalities, particularly, the absence of a sworn statement.
The complainants, however, in their letter dated Dec. 29, 2023, said they hoped that the university’s investigating body would “prioritize moral fairness and thorough investigation over technicalities.”
Lawyer Joelle Medalle, chairperson of the CTU’s Committee on Decorum and Investigation (Codi), said the complainants were given the chance to expound on the allegations they surfaced last September 2023, but they failed to appear and formalize their complaint through an affidavit.
“We required them to submit a sworn statement. Based on their complaint, it’s pure hearsay,” Medalle told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.
The complainants, however, said Codi failed to notify them of the progress of their action.
Based on the letter, the complainants said they sent the complaint via email on Sept. 21, 2023.
Medalle said following a thorough and fair investigation based on the records, Codi issued a resolution in November, dismissing the complaints.
The lawyer said they asked the complainants responding to the anonymous email to appear and submit a sworn statement with supporting allegations as well as reached out to personalities to request to come and make an affidavit but no one appeared.
“We exerted (efforts). We reached out to these personalities, but all of our efforts fell on deaf ears,” said Medalle.
A complaint letter, supposedly signed by parents, faculty members and alumni, was sent to several members of the board of regents and the university president, addressing the alleged sexual harassment by Prof. Juan (real name withheld) against students and employees of CTU.
The anonymous complainants urged the CTU administration to conduct an investigation, citing a specific incident where two former deans claimed to have found the professor sleeping beside a half-naked male student inside a classroom.
“Their firsthand observation exposed Juan’s inappropriate conduct as a public servant, causing discomfort,” they said.
“There appears to be a pattern of overlooking and concealing cases of sexual harassment or molestation in our university, resulting in offenders evading consequences,” they added.
One of the complaints sent to various outlets alleged that some faculty members and organic non-teaching personnel have ongoing sexual relationships with some students and staff members.
“The aforementioned sexual harassment cases seemingly favored the offenders due to the strategic handling by a Mr. Pedro (real name withheld until SunStar Cebu gets his side) during his tenure as the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (Codi) chair for several years ago,” said by complainants.
Medalle, however, maintained that the case would not prosper without identifying the complainant.
As of Jan. 4, Medalle said Codi had yet to receive a copy of an affidavit of complaint or sworn statement but said they would welcome it if a complainant would appear with a sworn statement.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach the source of the complaint via email but had yet to get a response as of press time.
Medalle questioned the motive for the complaint and asked why these complaints resurfaced after the resolution had been made by Codi, saying they might have tried to garner public attention or if the complaints were not the actual victims but were individuals just trying to take advantage of the situation.
The complainants cited a Supreme Court Resolution whose subject is a complaint dated May 14, 2022, against Atty. Cresencio P. Co Untian Jr. for his alleged sexual harassment of students of Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City (Xavier).
The complaint requested the court to investigate the alleged sexual harassment that the respondent had committed against students of Xavier, particularly Antoinette Toyco, Christina Sagarbarria and Lea Dal.
“Upon revisiting this case, it became apparent that the respondent received a 10-year suspension from teaching in any school. In this instance, the Court didn’t solely adhere to legal aspects but also made a morally grounded decision,” the complainants said.
“On this regard, we do not expect the University’s CODI to insist on a SWORN COMPLAINT as an absolute requisite to allow our complaint to forge accordingly, especially,” the complainants added.