Duterte hands off on case of pupil bullying his granddaughter in school

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Feb) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said he won’t be interferring in an issue involving his granddaughter allegedly being bullied by another pupil in a private school here.

He was referring to the daughter of Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte, who will not be named to protect her privacy as well as that of the school.

In an interview Wednesday, Duterte said the vice mayor is responsible enough to face the issue himself.

“The child has a father,” the elder Duterte said. “Let him deal with the problem.”

Duterte was visiting the grave of his mother, Soledad, at the Wireless cemetery Wednesday during the anniversary of her death.

Vice Mayor Duterte earlier this week wrote his daughter’s school asking for intervention into an alleged bullying case.

Duterte said his daughter has complained to him several times that a pupil, a boy who is also a minor, allegedly hurt her several times.

“I have already reached out to the parents of the child,” Paolo said. “I asked them if they were willing to go to jail for their child, because I am.”

The child allegedly stabbed Paolo’s daughter with a scissor and twisted her arm, and the child in question also allegedly bullied others.

He clarified, however, that this was a personal matter between him and another family and does not involve the Office of the Vice Mayor.

Lawyer Alexis Lumbatan said his client is willing to help other parents who feel that their children have also been bullied.

Councilor Maria Belen Acosta, in an interview at the Marco Polo Wednesday, said the city government could not yet intervene in the matter since the investigation is not complete.

“What’s our concern at the council is if any law was broken,” she said.

Elenito Escalada, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Davao chapter president, for his part, said each school has a child protection committee who has jurisdiction for cases like bullying.

The law, according to the Philippine government gazette www.gov.ph, requires all elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, to protect any child (or witness) who reports cases of bullying in their schools.

The implementing rules and regulations of the law mandate that the school must immediately investigate and resolve any case of bullying.

Bullying, as defined by law, refers to “any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture … directed at another student….”

The act could lead to creating a hostile environment for the bullied, or could infringe on his or her rights, or disrupt his or her education.

Bullying includes the following:

  • unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim like punching, pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, tickling, headlocks, inflicting school pranks, teasing, fighting and the use of available objects as weapons
  • any act that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being
  • slanderous statements or accusations, and
  • cyber bullying or bullying through the use of technology such as cellphones or computers.