After the alleged sexual harassment incident involving UST students, Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) alumna, KV Rojas posted on her Facebook account on Sunday Feb 5 that she was sexually harassed by a former Dean.
She did not name her perpetrator, but LPU, in its statement, did: LPU College of International Relations former Dean and Ambassador Reynaldo Arcilla.
KV in her post said that she had a meeting with the former Dean last December 2016 to ask for a recommendation letter for graduate school requirements. And then she recounted the harrowing experience that began with the 30-minute meeting.
“He asked me what I want, who am I, and told me he doesn’t remember me daw. He said ‘Panget ka siguro noon,’ I just brushed it off and said ‘I’ll take that as a compliment, Sir.’ He asked me a lot of things such as: my plan if ever I will be accepted in my chosen school, if I’m thinking of taking the FSO exam, my grade in his subjects, what am I doing now, and if I’m reading his column.”
Arcilla offered to drop her off near her place; they agreed on Coastal in Parañaque. KV said that he went inside the clinic, located near the gate of the university. That time, Arcilla allegedly said, “Dito kita rarape-in” to KV—a joke that is never funny. Or no: a thing that’s never to be joked about.
The Dean left his iPad in his office, had his driver pick it up, leaving the two inside the car, where the dean said awfully inappropriate things like “You really turn me on,” and “Pa-kiss nga.” You can read her account here.
In a separate post, the LPU alumna narrated how the university handled her complaint and expressed her disappointment; at one point, they even gave her number to the Dean. #Yikes. He did text her sorry, but for calling her ugly and for calling her ugly alone.
On 16 January 2017, the Human Resources Director of LPU sent a message to KV saying, “Amb (his surname) has resigned effective today Jan 16 and we accepted his resignation so he is no longer under the employ of LPU, sorry, but we have no control of or cannot force him to admit on sexual harassment you stated. Thank you.”
MB Life got in touch with KV, who told us: “I tried to go through the just procedure–talked to a lot of people and went to several offices to seek advice. But things were not moving as I expected and I felt no one paid attention to my problem.
“So I guess I was frustrated with the silence. It was physically exhausting to meet people every day waiting for things to move forward. I exhausted all measures available and I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer. Learning other women’s experiences too gave me the courage.”
She said that she didn’t tell her parents immediately because she thinks that she can solve it on her own.
“My mom knew something was off and confronted me about it so I caved in. She went ballistic at first. But going through these she became my rock and she helped me think more rationally and to be positive that my efforts will not be in vain,” she said.
“I remember the time the students of Lyceum sing the school anthem while raising our fist, and you took offense with that–complained to the admin that it was inappropriate and unnecessary in the formation of future leaders. I admired you for that. I thought the same thing too. I thought those students were non-conformists, and that was not good for the school. Now I see things differently. I’m raising my fist for all the victims of sexual harassment and sing our school anthem with courage in solidarity with the non-conformists who fought for the benefit of the students,” KV said, when asked what her message was to the Dean.
MB Life reached out to the Lyceum of the Philippines University and its Director for Communication and Public Affairs/Office of Alumni Affairs, Sandra Recto gave us statement. See below:
“We would like to stress that Lyceum of the Philippines University does not condone nor tolerate any form of sexual harassment and we continue to uphold the virtues of Dr. Jose P. Laurel, in seeking the truth and acting with fortitude in the service of God and country.
“Please be informed that we received the complaint filed by Ms. Kieroville L. Rojas on 09 December 2016. The Director for Human Resources immediately got in touch with Ms. Rojas upon receipt of her letter-complaint for the purpose of setting a meeting with the complainant. The said meeting took place at The Bayleaf Intramuros on 16 December 2016, with the Director for Human Resources, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ms. Rojas and her mother in attendance. It was agreed upon during the meeting that Ambassador Reynaldo O. Arcilla be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint lodged against him.
“Upon the request of Ambassador Arcilla, who was furnished a copy of the letter-complaint, we attempted to set up a clarificatory meeting between Ambassador Arcilla and Ms. Rojas, but to no avail. As said meeting did not materialize, we informed Ambassador Arcilla on 13 January 2017 that the complaint of Ms. Rojas would be forthwith referred, for purposes of investigation, to the Committee on Decorum and Investigation.
“On 15 January 2017, Ambassador Arcilla opted to resign effective immediately. On the same day, we informed Ms. Rojas that in view of Ambassador Arcilla’s resignation, the administrative aspect of the complaint was already deemed CLOSED. Since Ambassador Arcilla is no longer considered a faculty member by reason of his resignation, the university, under the rules, is effectively divested of its administrative jurisdiction over the complaint”.
On Tuesday evening, Feb 7, the university posted another statement on its Facebook page:
Meanwhile, another LPU alumna, Victoria Castilla also spoke up about another Arcilla-related incident, this time in Thailand involving her and her best friend. Read her Facebook post here.
MB Life sent an email to Ambassador Arcilla. We are still waiting for his reply.
Photo: Screen grabbed from KV’s post
Header image: Madel Crudo
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