Filipina journalist files sexual harassment complaint vs Cambodia news publisher

Janella Paris
Filipina journalist files sexual harassment complaint vs Cambodia news publisher
The Khmer Times publisher, Mohan Tirvgmanasam Banddam or T. Mohan, has denied the accusations

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina reporter, who quit the Phnom Penh-based Khmer Times after allegedly being sexually harassed by the newspaper’s publisher, has filed a complaint against her alleged harasser. 

April Reposar filed the case against Khmer Times publisher Mohan Tirvgmanasam Banddam or T. Mohan on Thursday, December 5, before a Phnom Penh court, but gave Rappler a copy of the lawsuit on Friday, December 13, upon returing to the Philippines.

The Cambodian Judicial Police is now investigating Reposar’s complaint. 

Reposar said she started working for the paper in April 2019. The following month, the publisher allegedly told her that she would be placed in a nice apartment, in exchange for a “friends with benefits” setup. 

In her complaint, Reposar said Mohan told her: “I will protect you. I will protect you from the people in the company. I can give you a very private, well-secured flat. Whenever I need you, you’ll be there for me. If I need you to be with me, you’ll be there for me.”

Reposar said they have not received reactions from Mohan’s camp, but that her alleged harasser had denied all her claims of sexual harassment before the case was filed. 

In an article by Phnom Penh-based VOD News in June, after Reposar quit Khmer Times, Mohan denied the allegations, saying the WhatsApp messages Reposar revealed of the encounter were “heavily redacted and distorted” and that the things he was accused of “never happened.”

Mohan also alleged that it was Reposar who suggested becoming his partner. He, however, said he deleted the messages that would prove this out of “shame.”

“The [Khmer Times] Admin Manager was informed of the indecent proposal from her, the proposal was not from me but from her…. There were text messages on this and some of [sic] from her was explicit and I deleted all of it as it was shameful,” Mohan said, as quoted by VOD.

“Courage is all I got at this point. This isn’t just about me, this is for all the victims of sexual harassment. I want them to know that we have a voice, that there’s nothing wrong in speaking up,” Reposar told Rappler in an e-mail. She also earlier claimed that many Filipinos also resigned from the paper due to sexual harassment. –