sexual harassment in PH

Whistleblower charged with cyber libel for posting teacher’s alleged abuse

Michelle Abad

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Whistleblower charged with cyber libel for posting teacher’s alleged abuse

ARRESTED. Robert, not his real name, guests in a September 2022 Rappler Talk episode to talk about his experience of sexual harassment at the Bacoor National High School.

Rappler screenshot

The 22-year-old alumnus of Bacoor National High School is arrested for posting on Facebook about a teacher's alleged sexual harassment of another student

MANILA, Philippines – A 22-year-old alumnus from Bacoor National High School (BNHS) was arrested for cyber libel more than a year after he posted online a screenshot showing a teacher’s alleged sexual harassment of another student.

Robert, not his real name, was arrested on Friday, April 5, for four counts of cyber libel, said the Enough is Enough (EIE), an organization of survivors of school-based sexual harassment and their supporters.

A information acquired by Rappler for one of the cyber libel counts showed that the charges were filed before the Bacoor City Regional Trial Court Branch 110 back in July 2023, but Robert only knew about the warrant when he was arrested last Friday, said EIE.

The prosecutors accused Robert of cyber libel for posting in August 2022 a screenshot of an online conversation involving then BNHS teacher Nelson Feranil and another student.

In the information provided the court, the prosecution said the accused had the malicious intent of “besmirching the honor, integrity and reputation of Feranil” when he posted on social media screenshots of the conversation of the former BNHS teacher with another person.

The prosecution included text of the conversation in the information.

Robert had experienced sexual harassment at BNHS himself, and became an advocate for speaking out for other victim-survivors.

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Aaron Pedrosa, a lawyer assisting EIE and Robert, said on Tuesday, April 9, that while it was too early to discuss legal strategy, “all legal remedies” would be exhausted for him.

“We will exhaust all legal remedies available to defend alias Robert in the current cyber libel charge and to prosecute the perpetrators for the crime committed against alias Robert and all victims of Bacoor National High School – which is the real issue here,” said Pedrosa.

EIE in a statement on Monday, April 8, slammed the apparent prosecution of victims rather than predators. They demanded for Robert’s release and the immediate resolution of the cases.

“EIE deplored the prosecution of victims instead of predators, by allowing cyber libel charges to be used in retaliation against students seeking accountability from teacher-predators and the lackadaisical effort of the Department of Education to bring them to justice,” EIE said.

Sophie Reyes, EIE lead convenor, said that Robert’s incarceration is a threat to all victims seeking justice.

“But this is not the time to cower into submission. All the more victims and advocates alike must overcome all odds, including the weaponization of the cyber crime law, in the pursuit of justice and safer campuses,” said Reyes.

EIE is currently soliciting funds for Robert’s bail.

Rappler interviewed Robert in a September 2022 Rappler Talk episode, where he talked about his own experience of sexual harassment when he was in Grade 9 at BNHS. –

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.