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Monday, June 24, 2024

OSG downplays as ‘hearsay’ ex-TomWeb adviser’s complaint vs OSA over repression

2 min readIn its first reply two months after Laparan filed his complaint, the OSG through University in-house Counsel Atty. Alfonso Versoza said the former TomasinoWeb adviser and journalism instructor’s grievances were “based primarily on hearsay and conclusions.”
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Published 20 days ago on June 05, 2024

by TomasinoWeb

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The Office of the Secretary-General (OSG) dismissed as “hearsay and conclusions” the complaint of former TomasinoWeb adviser Leo Laparan over the well-documented cases of campus repression at the hands of Office for Student Affairs (OSA) heads.

In its first reply two months after Laparan filed his complaint, the OSG through University in-house Counsel Atty. Alfonso Versoza said the former TomasinoWeb adviser and journalism instructor’s grievances were “based primarily on hearsay and conclusions.”

The OSG asked Laparan to “provide specific details and particularize” his complaint.

Among the “specific details” the OSG told Laparan to provide was a statement from TomasinoWeb President JC Zamora that he was threatened by OSA Director Asst. Prof. Maria Cecilia Tio Cuison and OSA Assistant Director Asst. Prof. Maria Regina Arriero.

The Flame reported in February that OSA officials threatened to “end” TomasinoWeb’s existence as a University-wide organization in a meeting after the controversial photo featuring College of Information and Computer Sciences students in front of the 7-Eleven store on campus.

The OSG also questioned Laparan’s complaint that OSA directors committed consistent and continuous acts of censorship, even as student leaders and University alumni decried the many instances of campus repression through the years.

In a statement in solidarity with TomasinoWeb, nearly 1,000 Thomasian alumni called “the gagging of the campus press through OSA is just a symptom of a much more malignant disease in UST, one that has plagued the university since its establishment under colonial rule.”

“The UST administration’s transgressions against TomasinoWeb is definitely not isolated, but part of a systemic problem of campus repression which they have refused to address and instead have allowed to fester,” the statement read further.

While the OSG’s response downplayed the gravity of Laparan’s complaint, it did not decide on whether Tio Cuison, who is on medical leave, and Arriero committed violations alleged by the former TomasinoWeb adviser.

In his complaint, Laparan alleged the two OSA heads violated the Faculty Union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Student Handbook, the provisions of the Education Act of 1982 and Campus Journalism Act of 1991, the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press as provided for in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, and principles on press freedom and freedom of speech upheld by the Holy See.

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Office of the Secretary General

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TomasinoWeb

TomasinoWeb, the premier digital media organization of the University of Santo Tomas

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