RA 10627 requires the school principal or any authorized representative to report to the law enforcement agencies if he or she believes the bullying is tantamount to a crime and, thus, criminal charges may be pursued under the Revised Penal Code.
However, in a public interview with Police Officer I Rowena Darline Felizario, the cop in charge of the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Anonas Police Station, the boy caught on video bullying his fellow students cannot be sued for physical assault as he is only 14 years old and she can only go as far as recording what happened. The best route for the family, therefore, is to take the case to the school that vowed to probe the incident thoroughly.
DepEd Order 40, s. 2012 provides that imposition of penalties is still subject to due process. Only the private school’s School Heads or administrators has the authority to act on complaints filed by the victims from their school.
Good order and behavior are emphasized in Ateneo. The ADMU Code of Discipline set norms to help the students evolve into self-motivated, self-disciplined individuals. It aims to teach justice, moral and right conduct and to protect and uphold the good name of the school. Under the said Code, physical assault depends on the gravity of the case. The penalty may be raised to a suspension of one to three days’, or dismissal from the school.
Some studies suggest that the nature of the school environment and how schools respond – proactively and reactively – to the problem of bullying may affect the prevalence of the bullying (Ttofi and Farrington, 2011). This is one of the reasons why DO 55, s. 2013 emphasizes that the Secretary of the Department of Education shall prescribe the appropriate administrative sanctions on school administrators on the non-compliance of RA 10627. The Erring private schools shall likewise suffer the penalty of suspension of their permits to operate.
With the development of ADMU bullying controversies, the public pressure will now shift to Sec Briones and NCR Regional Director, Dr. Ponciano Andal Menguito. Their fairness in implementing DepEd Order 55, s. 2013 will be tested.