A teacher who became the subject of investigation by the Department of Education (DepEd) for his viral Tiktok video has apologized, a teachers’ group said on Monday, Nov. 8.
In the viral Tiktok video, the teacher was using the username @leobondoclopez as he made himself look good to get a “cute” student’s attention. His account has already been set to private, as of this writing.
Last week, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones ordered its regional unit in Central Luzon to investigate the teacher, whose name and school was not disclosed, for “insinuating potential child abuse.”
In an interview with Teleradyo, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition national chairperson Benjo Basas welcomed DepEd’s move to probe the teacher for “potential child abuse.” “Wala namang problema kung ito ay pa-imbestigahan to establish na meron talagang malicious content and kung meron talagang harm intended, kailangan talagang ma-imbestigahan.”
Basas said the teacher involved has already apologized for his Tiktok video, commending his school for issuing an investigation on the matter.
“Naglabas ng apology ‘yung teacher at sinabi niyang ‘yun ay katuwaan lang. Hindi naman pwedeng sabihin na ‘yung lahat ng mga bagay basta katuwaan lang ay palalampasin po natin. Kumbaga, he’s man enough na tanggapin ‘yung posible na pagkakamali d’un sa kanyang ginawa,” he said.
Basas said the teacher also needs to be reminded about his limits as a professional.
“Of course sa child abuse, hindi naman kailangan ng intention. Basta meron pong perceived at ‘yun nga potential abuse na pwedeng makita ang otoridad or offended party if ever, child abuse would exist,” he added.
While Basas welcomes DepEd’s investigation, he feels saddened that a statement about “insinuating potential child abuse” was quickly released to the media.
“Hindi pa rin siya absuwelto doon kasi sa child abuse, sexual harassment or whatever, ang nakalagay naman po sa batas kahit once mo lang ginawa yan, wala kang istorya ng mga ganyan ay pwede naman po basta na-establish. Kaya sinasabi po namin wala pong problema kung yung teacher ay imbestigahan pero wag naman po sanang pagpiyestahan,” he said.
Basas also feels hurt that the teacher’s name has been dragged on social media.
“Eto po yung sinasabi na magna carta for public school teachers. Wala pong publicity allowed dito sa kaso pero hindi po gan’un ‘yung nangyari. Hindi na-protektahan ‘yung kanyang identity and itsura. Eh ‘yung mga holdaper nga na nahuli na nag-holdap sa jeep or public places tapos pinakita sa media or social media, binu-blur nga po natin yung mukha eh,” he said.
“Pero hindi ganito yung nangyari sa ating teacher nakabalandar yung mukha niya, yung eskwelahan niya, yung pangalan niya ay nandyan po,” Basas added.
In a statement, DepEd advised teachers and public servants to “always champion a safe and nurturing” environment for children, “where physical, verbal, sexual and other forms of abuse and discrimination are renounced.”