My Case Reply.
April 1, 2008 1 Comment
[Pre-text: There are currently two complaints filed against me by Assoc. Prof. Jaime delos Santos, the dean of my College, and by Asst. prof. Jean Reintegrado, our college secretary. In the spirit of democracy, I would like to post my arguments on the cases filed.]
RESPONSE ON THE COMPLAINTS FILED BY ASSOC. PROF. JAIME DELOS SANTOS, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS AND DESIGN, AND ASST. PROF. JEAN REINTEGRADO, SECRETARY OF THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS AND DESIGN
Presented to the Student Welfare and Development Board (SWDB) is a statement responding to complaints filed by the abovementioned academic officials against me, JOHN CARLO MASAJO, a student of the College of Fine Arts and Design, received by your office last January 14, 2008 and served to me last March 7, 2008.
ON THE NATURE OF THE COMPLAINTS:
Last December 12, 2007, Mr. Jaime Delos Santos, the Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design (which shall hereinafter be referred to as “FIRST COMPLAINANT”) wrote a letter to the Local Coordinator of the SWDB, Mr. Edilberto Cunanan, calling Mr. Cunanan’s attention as to “…the following acts of our student in this college…”, seeking the same person to extend help the respondent “in whatever manner in the Christian mold and formation of the student abovementioned.” The first complainant’s letter was received by the Local SWDB last December 17, 2007.
On the same day, Ms. Jean Reintegrado, the College Secretary of the College of Fine Arts and Design (which shall hereinafter be referred to as “SECOND COMPLAINANT”), also wrote to Mr. Cunanan in reference of at least two incidents which she coined as “disrespectful”. Her letter was received by the Local SWDB last December 17, 2007.
From my understanding of the copies of the so-called complaints filed by both complainants, I see the following as the issues of this case:
ON THE DELOS SANTOS COMPLAINT:
1. On the complaint of Mr. Delos Santos, the main issue is whether I have indeed displayed derogatory words against him and if the same was done to malign his name and reputation;
2. On the complaint of Mr. Delos Santos, the secondary issue is whether I am a legitimate editor of the magazine, as he deems I so represent; and
3. On the complaint of Mr. Delos Santos, the tertiary issue is if he has committed acts which may be coined as abuse of his power.
ON THE REINTEGRADO COMPLAINT:
1. On the complaint of Ms. Reintegrado, the main issue is whether I have indeed disrespected her by defying her “order”;
2. On the complaint of Ms. Reintegrado, the secondary issue is whether I have indeed maligned her reputation.
ON THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE DELOS SANTOS COMPLAINT:
Have I displayed derogatory words against him and if the same was done to malign his name and reputation?
On this allegation, the first complainant must first specify which of my blogs intended to malign him, since on the complaint he submitted to the CFAD SWDB and this panel, he did not provide the specifics. As the complainant, it is an imperative on his part to provide the particulars of the blog/s he is referring to.
The burden of proof must be on the part of the dean. He did not provide the specifics in which I can defend myself. I shall properly respond to this allegation as soon as the dean provides more information. The dean must first provide which blog/s was articulated solely with the intention to malign him.
Generally, a person may only malign someone if there is anger on the part of the person who commits the act. In this case, I do not know the dean personally and there was no deliberate attempt to destroy his name and reputation.
ON THE SECOND ISSUE OF THE DELOS SANTOS COMPLAINT:
Am I a legitimate editor-in-chief of HIRAYA Magazine, as I deem represent?
On this allegation, I continue to claim being editor in chief of HIRAYA. The dean has argued that there was no substantive evidence proving my claim. However, the dean and the college secretary have committed to specific courses of action that make my claim hold water.
The dean has only disclaimed my legitimacy when a case was filed against him, and never prior to that. In one of the meetings attended by Professors Mailah Baldemor-Balde, chair of the Painting Department, Ma. Victoria Mortel, the adviser of HIRAYA, Jean Reintegrado, college secretary, and the dean, for the purpose of discussing one of my blogs, the dean has even admired my writing and reiterated my being deserving of becoming editor-in-chief. In the same meeting, he assured me and Mortel that he will work on the appointment papers as soon s possible. He even offered the vacant Assistant dean’s office for the publication’s use.
In one encounter involving Ms. Nikka Uminga, president of the UST Illustrator’s Guild, he even assured me that I was editor in chief, and in the same manner, offered the office for our use.
Even earlier, when Ms. Mortel and I went to the dean’s office to have one of the org room cubicles to be opened, the dean responded. The cubicle was opened upon our request. If he did not recognize me all along, then he should not have heeded my request.
Also, I have during several instances worked in the assistant dean’s office, an office adjacent to his office. If the dean does not recognize my legitimacy, then he should not have allowed me to use that office since I, in effect, was an ordinary student.
In the November 8, 2007 meeting attended by Professors Mailah Baldemor-Balde, Victoria Mortel, Jean Reintegrado, and the dean, he discussed shelving me as editor in chief. If I was illegitimate, then there is nothing to shelf.
Sometime during November of 2007, when I was requesting Ms. Reintegrado to print documents, of which she refused, I decided to print it outside. If I was not a legitimate editor as they contend, then why did Ms. Reintegrado reimburse Php 48.00 for the items printed? She should have not, if she did not recognize my being editor.
The dean has not released any appointment paper even when we were already starting to work, not because he did not have the time, but because he was making sure to see a pro-administration journal. And if he does not see one, then he can easily disclaim its existence, as he does now when a case was filed against him at the Rector’s office.
ON THE THIRD ISSUE OF THE DELOS SANTOS COMPLAINT:
Has he committed actions that qualify as abuse of his power?
Yes. The dean has expressed two ways in which he uses his power; it is either he does not use it at all or he uses it in its fullness. But this issue is none of my concern as respondent to the complaint.
If this issue, however, revolves around the funds he has withdrawn, he indeed has abused his power as dean. According to Atty. Syjuco, legal consultant of the Vice Rector for Finance, the journal fund is classified as a “TRUST FUND”, where only the trustees can withdraw. Granting the fact that the dean is overseer of the funds, HE IS NOT THE TRUSTEE. Therefore, any acts analogous to withdrawing any amount from those funds without permission of the trustee is against the campus journalism act. It is clear that the dean is not the trustee of the fund, regardless of the existence of a campus journal. In this case, he used the journal fund to purchase Adobo Magazine for the advertising arts department.
While the intention of the withdrawal was good, it was withdrawn from the wrong funds. He should have withdrawn it from some other fund that fits the purpose of the withdrawal; perhaps from his own funds or from the library funds, but NEVER from the journal fund, since it was collected for a publication and not for the procurement of academic journals.
ON THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE REINTEGRADO COMPLAINT:
Have I disrespected her by defying her oder?
On this allegation, there are two separate sub-issues: first is the issue concerning my demeanor, and second is about defying her order.
On the first sub-issue, Reintegrado said in her complaint that .Once again, the burden of proof is on Ms. Reintegrado. She will first have to provide witnesses before I respond according to her allegations and testimony.
Answering generally, my demeanor during that conversation was very respectful, granting that she was an administrative official of the college. I may only have had a varying demeanor when she started belittling me and shouting at me. She even mentioned the words “Ayaw ko nang mapaso ulit.” It may have caused commotion since Ms. Reintegrado was deliberately belittling my character in front of her staff and other students.
As to the veracity of this complaint, she must present witnesses since her word is only as good as mine.
ON THE SECOND ISSUE OF THE REINTEGRADO COMPLAINT:
Have I maligned her name and reputation?
You cannot malign someone who you are not familiar with. The same is true with Ms. Reintegrado. I do not know her personally and there is no reason for me to malign her.
As she argued, she said she referred to my posting of the complaint in my blog. The posting was not intended to malign her credibility but was a mere exercise of my right to free expression. As an academic official, she should be open to criticism, and not be onion-skinned.
The complainants have not clearly substantiated their claims at the local SWDB, which is a very sad fact. They have not provided evidence directly putting me into the pedestal. In the same manner, the local SWDB has not called for me to verify such claim and to try the case, regardless of the complainants’ moral ascendancy over them.
Both complainants failed to initially establish their case, and their arguments are far away from the main issues involved. They have not specified which provisions of the Student Handbook I have violated. Truly, these complaints were filed only to continuously harass me and malign my name and credibility. The dean even called me dishonest upfront, while though I had the urgent desire to call him names, I have withheld because of prudence.
When the complaint was formally served to me by Prof. Anita P. Garcia, she said that my enrollment will be blocked as a matter of policy. I find this unfair and unjust on my part since as legal ethics and practice dictate, I am innocent until otherwise proven.
In view of the foregoing, I humbly request the panel to:
- Dismiss the complaints filed against me by Mr. Jaime delos Santos and Ms. Jean Reintegrado on the grounds of lack of substance;
- Allow me to enroll for summer classes since I have not even been found guilty of any of the allegations; and
- If the panel tries this case, that I be assured of all my rights as student and citizen and be provided with a speedy and unbiased trial.
In the same manner, I humbly request the panel to provide me with the guidelines of the proceedings that will take place and all such other pertinent communications that will be helpful to me in the course of these proceedings.