School says Faceboook ‘bikini’ case is about taking responsibility



First the students, now their parents.

The case of five St. Theresa’s high school students who were barred from attending their March 30 graduation for posting “lewd” photos of themselves on Facebook, took a different twist when the private school decided to file criminal charges against the parents and a guardian of four of the girls.

The girls’ elders were accused of violating the special law on child abuse by “failing to supervise their minor children/ward.”

The criminal complaint was filed with the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office by the STC directress, Sister Purisima Pe, ICM; assistant principal Mussolini Yap; and three alumni members

One girl and her mother were spared from the latest charge because they withdrew their earlier lawsuit against STC after reaching a settlement with the school.

The latest criminal charge appeared as a counterstrike, after the Catholic school was sued for damages and injunction last March and then criminal charges for grave oral defamation.

In yesterday’s complaint filed by STC, Sister Pe, the school directress, accused the parents and one guardian of the girls of causing their children “to lead an immoral and dissolute life.”

“(The) parents/guardian clearly failed to supervise their minor children/ward. They further failed to instill in them the virtues required to be instilled on these minors, both by law and our traditions,” the school officials and alumnae said in their joint complaint-affidavit filed before the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office.

“The effect now of the failure of respondents to discipline their children is that these children see nothing wrong with their act of drinking, smoking and exposing their bodies to the public,” they added.

The plaintiffs include Salome Lape, Maria Teresa Atienza, and Jo-ann Zaldumbide who were described as “civic-minded, law-abiding citizens” who are STC alumni and/or parents with children enrolled in STC who are suing “as concerned citizens.”

CDN and several other media outlets have refrained from naming the girls, who at 16 years old are minors, ever since the controversy broke a few days before STC’s graduation rites.

The latest complaint filed by the school accused the parents and a guardian of violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act in relation to Presidential Decree 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code.

The parents’ lawyer Cornelio Mercado called the complaint “ridiculous”.

“I’m speechless. Ka-grabe. Di na ko kasabot. (That’s too much. I can’t understand that.),” Mercado told Cebu Daily News.

He said he would follow up with another complaint against STC for bringing dishonor on his clients.

“For them to file a case and accuse parents with this grave offense is inviting another charge. Filing that ridiculous complaint speaks a lot about who they are,” Mercado said.

“Let the court decide. Let them prove their allegations. They are aggravating the issues,” he added.

The case involves candid photos posted in Facebook of five girls, who belong to the same barkada. They were allegedly taken in at least three incidents, a birthday party in a Mactan resort, in a bar that served liquor, and on the street with Sinulog revelers.

As punishment, the school banned the high school seniors from attending the commencement exercise, while letting them girls graduate with a grade of “C” in the subject of “Personality”.

In a separate interview, one of the parents who got sued said they are willing to answer the accusations leveled against them.

“They (STC officials) have all the right to file countercharges. Anyway, filing is different from winning,” the mother told CDN.

She insisted there was “nothing lewd, obscene, and immoral” in the candid photographs where her daughter appeared.

“We will definitely answer the accusations. It’s part of due process.” she said. The Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office will ask the respondents to file counter-affidavits.

79 years

In their joint-affdaivit, the plaintiffs said STC has been existing for 79 years, “molding ladies into mature, responsible and self-disciplined members of the society in the light of the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church.”

It recounted how last February, computer teacher Mylene Escudero and STC discipline-in0charge Kristine Rose-Tigol showed to the assistant principal some photos posted on the Facebook page of one of the students.

When the Facebook page was viewed, it showed more photos of three other students.

The complaint said one girl was shown drinking liquor in a bar and then in the streets of Cebu “showing off, and in a very pronounced manner, her black brassiere”.

Two other girls were shown drinking liquor in a bar in the Asiatown IT park, while one of them was smoking a cigarette.

The STC complaints said that under the Anti-Child Abuse Law and an ordinance of Cebu City, minors are not permitted inside a bar.

The computer teacher downloaded the photos to her flash drive. The photos were shown to the girls who were punished for violating rules in the Daily Guide of the Students and he school’s handbook.

STC invoked article six, section 10 of Republic Act 7610 which punishes “acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty, or exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development.

This provision states that “any person” who commits these acts shall suffer imprisonment of prision mayor in it minimum period.

The school also invoked provision of Presidential Decree 603 Child and Youth Welfare Code which states that “parents and guardians are responsible for the damage caused by the child under their parental authority.”

STC said the law sanctions any parent “who causes or encourages the child to lead an immoral or dissolute life.”

“Parents are vicariously liable for acts or omissions of their minor children,” the plaintiffs said.

They said there were photos of the girls which showed that they were permitted to drink hard liquor or tequila, enter bars and other places of amusements off-limits to minors, smoke, and roam around clad in indecent or skimpy clothing.

“(The girls’ actuations) are conclusive evidence of lack of parental control and supervision.

Respondents encouraged these minors to lead an immoral and dissolute life. Parents and guardian even faulted the school and filed cases against it and its administrators and faculty,” the plaintiffs said.

They said one of the parents even issued public statements saying there’s nothing wrong in the acts of the children.

“They (respondents) caused and encouraged these minors to engaged in immoral and disslute life when respondents sued the very persons who disciplined and called the attention of these minors, thereby sending the unlawful message that there is nothing wrong in the illegal and immoral ways of their children,” the plaintiffs said.

“The photographs all show that had these parents not been irresponsible and neglectful of their duties…, these children would not have done the unlawful and immoral acts of drinking, smoking, gallivanting around town wearing almost nothing. They would not have been lacking in restraint and lacking in sense of what is fundamentally right and wrong and decent,” they added.

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  • rosaddiaq

    Parents and teachers don’t get it. Children learn most of their behaviour from other children, not from them. Why is there a prodigal son inspite of well-provided homes and good schools? Nabarkaba kasi. Blame the neighboring kids not each other. Google Malcolm Gladwell and the nurture assumption and learn more about this.

    • tomahawk3

      its the act the made the parents responsible. parents concented the kids, that’s the school’s main point

      • picker_blend

        sayang naman your school. “concented”?

  • diamond_digger

    It’s funny how could the lawyer of STC could have hoodwinked the gullible nuns and administrators into filing such a ridiculous charge. And why do those nuns fell into the lawyer’s trap without even thinking that a number of religious people – nuns and priests are even living a more morally despicable lives than those young girls from whom they stole one of the most precious and memorable day and event in their lives which is their raduation. Woe unto you hypocrites! How callous could those nuns be. And they profess to be pious. Haven’t you remembered that JESUS CHRIST even forgave that loathsome prostitute of HIS time – MARY MAGDALENE? Do these nuns now consider those young girls worse than Magdalene. What a twisted and perverted logic do you have? You do not deserve to run a school wih such kind of mentality otherwise JESUS would have a lot of sweeping in HIS temple when HE comes back. SHAME on you self-appointed Guardian of Morality.

    • tomahawk3

      mary magdalene repents. if these parents do the same, they will be forgiven.

      • Islaslolo

        Are you another moral police like the STC nuns and teachers?

        Why will Mary Magdalene repent? Because the Catholic Church, or more correctly one of its popes, declared that she was a prostitute?  Please read the Bible very well and if you are familiar with Jewish customs of the time, she might be indeed be Jesus’s wife.

      • tomahawk3

        i’m on the side of good morals yes. 

        if i’m given a rank i’d spank every immoral kids, specially disobedient to schools and parents.

        you, as part of the community, i’d spank you too if you’re immoral.

    • pedronimo

      You’re so right pare. Are you aware that STC’s list of Outstandind Alumnae includes a very popular Showbiz celebrity who is openly and shamelessly leading the immoral life of a mistress? Yet it is making a mountain of a hill in this Facebook Bikini girl issue that her parents are being sued. Preposterous! Hillarious! Hypocritical! Victorian! Hogwash!

  • Ommm

    “lead an immoral and dissolute life”

    I do believe these parents should be charged with child abuse.

    What parent in their right mind would send their kids to such an archaic, draconian school of this sort in this day and age? Its little wonder their kids are running around drunk and half naked after enduring inquisition era rhetoric on a daily basis. Its plain cruelty and any teenager would crack under that strain. Do these schoolmasters honestly believe that imposing values akin to the middle ages will prepare children for a life in this era?

    Hopefully, but not probably, they will not start  their lives of popping out babies  before their schooling is done. Having been educated birth control is a mortal sin and their overpowering hormones will make that likely. Then its all downhill….

    Just imagine…bikinis!!… this is not California this is the Philippines. Thou shalt cover thyself from head to foot before swimming, just like in the American 1900’s.

    As for Facebook who censors all pictures… their moderators really messed up this time by allowing sinful bikini pics on their site and they should be sued also….

    • pedronimo

      Ommm, When did bikinis ever become “sinful” wear? Not in California and not in the Philippines, and not globally. If that is your attitude, seguro hindi ka nananuod ng mga beauty pageants, kasi lahat ng babe duon ay naka bikini (sa TV pa! at hindi lang Facebook) natatakot ka na ma-impyerno ka pagna-suyapan mo ang mga conestants. I surmise you are a Muslim, kaya ganun na lang ang tingin mo sa mga naka-bikini. Wag kang pumunta sa Boracay kasi mabubulag ka duon, As regards Facebook, you should know that the Internet is not the Bible. It is like a garbage can that will absorb anything one throws into it, que malinis, maganda, marumi, masakit,etc. It is a necessary evil in this age of information.

      Your children are yours only biologically but morally, there are other factoids that will draw them away from you: friends, malls, their laptops, and media, especially television which is a more powerful influence on your children, more than you and their school. Baka naman you hold the key and the remote control of your television at home, then I apologize for this comment. Believe na ako sa iyo.

      • Ommm

        My friend my entire comment is pure sarcasm..humor….:)

      • tomahawk3

        are talking about kids or adults?

  • Ceazar

    Parents are the first and most important role models for their children. If minors do not see anything wrong in drinking, smoking or displaying their bodies in public, they must have seen these too in their parents.

    Although we cannot discount the effect of peer pressure. By wanting to belong to a group, one is forced to accept and do things that normally he/ she would not do. So it is important to chose the friends or group they would like to belong to.

    • tomahawk3

      agree. no doubt!

  • pedronimo

    STC is being hypocritical in  using the terms “Immoral and dissolute” on parents Parents may under pressure act irresponsibly in raising their children, but they can'[t be charged as causing their children to lead “immoral and dissolute” lives- just because this daughter posed in bikini, drank, and smoked. The lawyer should look at the meaning of “dissolute” before using on parents and their children. Under pressure, parents could be a little bit of careless in yielding to their children’s vanities but they will never teach them corruption, debauchery, orn depravity as “dissolute: denotes. Believe me, Sister and STC just opened a “Pandora’s Box” in publicly bringing up this “immorality” issue.

  • Bansot

    OMG !!, this case has been blown out of proportion. With this scorching hot weather of 38 degrees celsius, do you expect kids and adults alike to swim with trousers and blouses on?. C’mon enough of these hypocrisies. Let’s move on and allow these kids to look forward to the next stage of their lives which are further education, not court cases!!!

    • tomahawk3

      not just the height, this one’s short sighted too.

  • diamond_digger

    When I was in college, I saw with my own eyes how a nun and a priest would cuddle inside the crampy v  olkswagen beetle owned by the nun parked in a dark secluded spot between the priests’ and nuns’ convents.  Silhouettes appearing from the inside of the car would unmistakably show two human bodies sometime convoluted  in some passionate exercise that would have caused my  my grandma to kiss the ground to implore for heavenly intervention. And they were not even the modern priest and nun as this happened in the early 70s. Oh by the way, another priest from the same convent even deflowered a 16-year old 1st year college student and bore her a child. Again, shame on these Guardians of Morality. You are all hypocrites.I personally knew about these because I was a working student in that college run by the nuns and one of the brothers of that promiscuous priest is a close friend and classmate of mine.

  • picker_blend

    it’s private, and they did not absent themselves from your prestigious institution so they can frolick in the sun. what they do after class hours and out of uniform, is their own thing. sister, there are a lot worse problems the world is facing; and girls wearing bikinis in a swimming area is the least of them.

    • tomahawk3

      it’s just a simple question, do you as parents want a community of kids drinking and half naked?

      • pedronimo

        Not as simple as you think Tomahawk. Your “community of kids drinking and half naked” is an unfair exaggeration, You’re forgetting that nowadays,kids spend the least time with their parents and parents for reasons of economics are not always home, That’s the reality against the ideal that the mother stays home and the father goes out to work.

        On the average, Children theoretically spend half of the day outside home. The rest he spends it with peer group, at the mall, and as soon as he gets home, he spends an average of 4 hours focusing on TV, not doing his HW or bonding with parents,
        Media especially TV is the stronger power that can influence a growing child on: morality, drinking, smoking, dating, etc What kids learned in school is unlearned at home.

      • tomahawk3

        then kids have nowhere else to go but obey the rules of the school.

        the school as the kids second home has to teach, guide and  discipline each and every kids. if you commit false action, school has a fair and just punishment for you.

        but more than half of what has to be learned growing up is learned at home and community.

        if you want drinking and dressing half naked, then stop going to school, that’s when you become a liability to the community, watch out.

    • May Buendia

      mr. picker_blend, if i were the parents of these girls, i will be very thankful for the school for calling my attention on what my daughter is doing after school. one of the reasons why most well to do parents enroll their daughters to this strict catholic school is that they believe that stc can discipline and inculcate good moral values to their children. so this is why we are surprised why these parents cried foul when their attention was called on the matter.

      • picker_blend

        the bikini thing was done with the parents’ consent. moral is a relative thing; what may be immoral to you is ok with others. and again, when they did these, it was in their own private time; not in a school-sanctioned event. live and let live.

      • pedronimo

        Agree ako sa iyo. Besides, when did wearing a bikini, drinking, and smoking ever been declared unlawful by Congress and a sin by the Catholic Church? Unless drinking leads to violence or homicide, unless smoking leads to cancer or fire, and unless the bikini leads to rape.

        The Sisters and their supporting pandering parents are a bunch of hypocrites who must condemn contestants wearing more skimpy bikinis in beauty pageants; they should also organize an STC-led movement against beer houses where uniformed students go boozing in round tables’ otherwise, these missionary sisters and these few parents are a in the wrong age and place.

      • tomahawk3

        wait til the kids grow up. but for now, they’re still kids … we don’t want kids to be growing up so soon. kids should be playing kids’ game not playing like adults

      • pedronimo

        Hindi ka yata updated sa history ng “Bikini Girl”. The school did not only call the attention of the parents but quickly decided, to ban their daughter from joining her batch in their graduation rites.The parents then sought audience with the school but they were ignored. The parents, though grateful to the info, naturally panicked. Media then picked up the controversy,

         Second, student manuals are supposed to be reviewed periodically in consultation with parents and alumnae if only to update, amend, or delete those policies which have become stale and unrealistic to the changing times. Not STC, the Sisters meted the punishment sadistically and not proportionate to the breach. Another exclusive school Chancellor did the more sensible if not Christian thing: he allowed his erring (FB kissing) boys to join the rites but withheld their diplomas until the case is juridically decided, That’s more civil.

  • pedronimo


    STC is being hypocritical to charge parents with causing their children to “lead immoral and dissolute lives” by allowing them to pose in bikini, drink, and smoke, Funny, ridiculous, Victorian. Well, Sister Pe, if you are such an honest woman, why is it that your list of outstanding STC alumnae includes the name of a Showbiz celebrity who is openly and shamelessly leading the life of a millionaire’s mistress?

    If the school is so right in this issue, how come only 3 parents came to their side to support?

    • tomahawk3

      if that is even half-right, get them go to that school and they’ll be kicked out and banned forever.  the school’s  concern are with kids under them. what you do is your business.

      • pedronimo

        You didn’t answer me at all. I repeat: if the school is so right about their charge against the bikini parents, how come only 3 STC parents openly came out in support of the school?, My own feeling is, kasi kokonti lang ang sipsip na magulang sa STC.

  • PCD_2012

    I must admit having seen one of my kids as described above I might take side with the school?  

    But what I don’t understand is how the school’s officials treated the said students without the presence of their parents?  Parents must be the first people to know the complaints before them as they are all minors. 

    The school should have treated the issue in a discreet way as not to further damage the reputations of these girls!  Given that they’ve committed mistakes school should have at least give them another chance to repent and correct what they’ve made!  After all, they are teaching Catholicism which allows repentance!

    Scenario No. 1?  

    Isang teacher na gustong pumapel at magpabango sa management, in other words sumipsip ang nag-umpisa ng issue!  

    If talagang gustong magmalasakit ng teacher the best way is to talk to each of the students personally.  Explain to the girls in the right manner kung ano ba ang nakita niyang mali and then ask them bakit nangyari yun?  If talagang inosente ang mga bata at hindi nila alam na mali pala ang mga ginagawa nila then the students must not be punished but rather help them to understand what is right! 

    If misguidance ang problema mas lalong kailangan ng mga bata ang tulong at hindi panlalait!

    • May Buendia

      What really happened was that the parents’ attention were called immediately after the indecent photos of the girls surfaced in facebook. The parents, instead of settling the matter privately with the school, opted to bring the matter to the media and let the media interviewed them thus, making the whole issue blown out of proportion. 

      • pedronimo

         That’s only half the truth. The whole truth is: the school quickly decided to ban the girl from joining her batch graduation rites. That panicked the parents who thought  Sister Pe’s decision was arbitrary, unfair, and not proportionate to their child’s misdemeanor, Kaya they had to bring this up to the media. Now with STC’s charging the parents of “irresponsibility, the school just opened wide Pandora’s Box. Like a Pacquiao-Mayweather match,

    • pedronimo

      It seems you have not followed-up and have not been updated on the history of this case. Anyway, don’t worry tama ka, kasi if the school is so bullish on the outcome of their charge against the bikini girl’s parents, how come only 3 STC (sipsip) parents out of the thousands, came up openly to support Sister Pe and STC.

  • Gevon

    Ang may kasalanan nitong lahat ay ang Facebook! Hahahahah

  • pedronimo

    Per se, drinking, smoking, and posing in bikini are socially harmless- unless drinking leads to violence if not homicide; unless excessive smoking leads to cancer, and the bikini leads to rape.
    Even if all parents and schools will join forces to stop these acts is an exercise in hypocrisy for there is that more powerful duo  of terrorists known as television and Internet that can influence growing kids more than their schools and parents do,  My maxim for this is; WHAT A CHILD LEARNS IN SCHOOL IS UNLEARNED AT HOME. A reality that parents can’t do anything about.

    • WeAry_Bat

       Your posts in this article are spot on.  The school is really inconsiderate but to be precise, it is not the school but that certain person.

      I can only guess being a non-reproductive person, she cannot value well a child.  On further thought, it is better the person is not a parent.

    • murtson

      The respnsiblity must be assumed woith passion and love. Schools especially public schools do nothing after school, meaning, after the classroom subjects are taught. These schoold don’t have an auditorium, a playing field and much more with sports facilities like balls, bats, gloves, etc. More so, they don’t have musical instruments like sax, trumpets, and other brass band instruments. There is not even enough computers for the students while politicians steal  money at will.

      And the police allow students to enter the internet cafe or shady internet holes. This is illegal especially if the kids are still in uniform!

      The government choose to play shameless politics by giving super huge amounts to dole-outs that entice mendicancy rather than uplift the education level, music and sports capabilities.

      What happened after school is the students go to internet shops and play or chat to seek fun. And the rest of the story is going to the dogs.

  • murtson

    Good! Respect for school policies should be fully exercised. Lawlessness and absence of discipline are what’s ruling the nation. Anywhere you look around, there are laws that are unimplemented, abused, sold and ignored. On the road, at the city hall where fixers are everywhere, at the airport’s immigration and customs, in courts, etc..  Even in Congress and Malacanang, laws are twisted and mangled to favor their allies and minions.

    Parents want to escape their obligations and when the school implements their policies they complain and make the institution a scape goat of their laxity and irresponsibility. Stupid! 

  • JosephNess

    is Saint Theresa’s College really a Catholic school ? the school has resorted to preach vindictiveness rather than reconciliation and forgiveness…very contradictory indeed to what the Catholic church preach on forgiveness…the school has crossed and interfere in the family’s privacy, where the school responsibility are merely to educate and guide their students on moral values but the practice of these, lies on the privacy of each individual students which has the freedom to choose what to live their lives outside the school…on the other hand, the privacy of the facebook accounts of these students were violated when the representative of the school has intruded and extracted portions of the content of these accounts, which they used against these students, thus, they are liable to answer for these acts too…no one has the right to extract anything from the facebook accounts of a private person without the permission of the one maintaining it…

  • deadlyshooter

    Respondents encouraged these minors to lead an immoral and dissolute life. Parents and guardian even faulted the school and filed cases against it and its administrators and faculty,” the plaintiffs said.

    this is a ridiculous, preposterous, irresponsible and unkind statements coming from the management of this school…no parents will encouraged their children to live an immoral lives, Christians as they are…these statements insulted and ruined the very honor of the name of the families of these students, they have no right to predict what lives these students will have in the future, from these mere showing of their pictures…their future depends on their intellect, condition, time and their will to choose what lives they will travails into, and just no one can say what lives ahead of them would be, only God knows what plan He has for these kids, and these school people are not god to know what will be the lives of these kids in the coming time…what a ridiculous, preposterous, irresponsible and unkind statements indeed coming from these people who should be preaching love, forgiveness and reconciliation….

  • marionics

    my god what moralistic comments. this is just the standard lawyer’s tricks. file a counter suit so you can have some bargaining leverage. urong mo demanda mo iurong ko din demanda ko.

  • Islaslolo

    We all make mistakes. But learning from our mistakes is the way to growth and understanding.

    That’s why an opportunity has been missed here by STC. They could have invited the students and their parents for a sincere and focused conversation. Don’t be judgmental but discuss what the teachers and nuns thought were mistakes and bad behavior. Then, let the students speak, without intimidation and fear of reprisal – if this is possible with the STC nuns, and see where the students are coming from or why they did what they did. If the conversation is fair and frank, both sides will surely learn from this exercise.

    These are young minds and they need guidance rather than punishment.

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