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Comelec official on ‘gun threat’ allegation: It was fake news

Three days after the controversy broke out on March 20 and a day following the release of Ateneo de Davao University’s (AdDU) official statement which was released on March 22, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Director Remlane Tambuang released an official statement, clearing up the false allegations regarding the heated issue between him and his son’s professor.

The public official’s son will not be able to graduate this April after receiving a failing mark on Philippine Constitution and Government (PS 111) under the instructions of Professor Neil Ryan Pancho.

Failing grade

According to the testimony of one of his classmates (whose name is withheld), Tambuang received passing grades for both prelims and midterms, and he was confident to pass the subject in the finals based on the standard grading system set by the school.

“Bakit F ang final grade? So, kinausap nung friend ko ‘yung teacher, kung gi-unsa to pag-compute. Take note, nawala ng teacher ang ibang seatworks and always pa talaga siya absent. Nanghangyo akong friend [Tambuang] if pwede ba siya may gawin na activity para mabawi grade niya, ni-decline ang teacher [Pancho]. So gi-dawat niya na dili na siya maka-grad,” his classmate attested to Atenews.

As a student who worried about his supposed graduation this semester, on March 14, Tambuang called his parents over phone while crying to inform them about the situation concerning the failing grade. After hearing his son’s narrative, Atty. Tambuang found it unfair for his son, so he wanted to have a parent-teacher conference with Pancho.

However, the teacher never showed up to the agreed appointment on March 15. Despite Pancho’s promise that he would be back at the office, Atty. Tambuang cited in the official statement that he waited for five hours, from 3PM until 8PM, to no avail.

On March 20, Atty. Tambuang asked help from the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS) Dean Renante Pilapil to make it sure that he could talk to the said teacher.

“I was at the dean’s office in the presence of Dean Pilapil and his Assistant Dean Limbadan. We were later joined by Mr. Pancho. We talked, and I asked him calmly for a clarification regarding my son’s grade,” Atty. Tambuang stated.

Despite the request from Atty. Tambuang, Pancho failed to present relevant papers to justify the failing grade which his son has received.

‘Fake news’

Following the initial news article “Parent threatens Ateneo de Davao professor ‘with gun’ over child’s low grade” by Rappler dated March 21, Atty. Tambuang claimed that he was “already prejudged and maligned by the people.” For him, the ‘gun threat’ claim has no solid evidence presented in the said article to support their allegation.

“Nahusgahan na ang pagkatao ko pati ang mga anak ko nadamay na dahil sa maling balitang inilabas ng Rappler and ni Mr. Gamas,” Atty. Tambuang stressed.

Meanwhile, University President Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. cleared up in his strongly worded official statement “Ateneo Will Not Be Intimidated.” He attested that “no gun was immediately involved in the incident,” contrary to the alleged “news” that some national news media outlets reported.

“Security footage has been reviewed and preliminary interviews have been conducted, all affirming that no weapon was actually used to threaten any university personnel. Schools are regarded as zones of peace and bringing weapons into a campus is strictly forbidden,” Tabora clarified.

In response to the controversial line “We are a family of lawyers and killers!” in which Tabora pointed out in the university’s official statement, Atty. Tambuang categorically denied that he said such statement.

Nevertheless, Tabora criticized the public official’s arrogant intimidation. He believed that the lawyer “rightfully deserve sanctions as they run contrary to their Lawyer’s Oath.”

“When a parent accompanied by relatives and body guards comes in brandishing statements like “WE ARE A FAMILY OF LAWYERS AND KILLERS!” or “WE CAN TAKE DOWN THIS SCHOOL” — these are statements the ADDU as a University can only take very seriously as they threaten the safety and security of its personnel,” the university president stressed.

However, according to the testimony of the same anonymous classmate of Tambuang, it was one of their relatives who said the said statement.
“Katong statement na ‘We are a family of lawyers and killers, and we can take down this school,’ ang tita ang nag-ingon ato, dili ang parent. Pero mali din naman ‘yun.

“Pero ngano ang blame kay naa sa student and the parent? Dapat mag-apologize pa gani ang university kay murag gi-magic og compute tas gi-discriminate pa sila,” the classmate said.

‘Free from parental bullying’

Tabora, whose official statement preceded Atty. Tambuang’s explanation, concluded the university’s official statement by ensuring that “AdDU is a safe zone not only for its students, but also for its teachers who teach and give out grades accordingly, free from intimidation and threats from parents or any related persons or personalities.”

Moreover, Tabora said that any kind of parental bullying against teachers based on public position or on one’s legal profession has no place in the university or in any school in the Philippines.
In response to this, Atty. Tambuang clears up his reputation by reiterating that there was no threat committed to anyone.

“It was a false media statement that blew out of proportion,” the lawyer insisted.

“It is at this point that I got emotional being a father. I could not imagine the pain my son was experiencing that moment. Since grade school up to now, my son is a true-blooded Atenean. He was looking forward to this graduation day,” he added.

 

Laying the issue to rest

Atty. Tambuang, after all the controversies that stirred up the incident, ended the statement by saying that his gratitude towards the university for providing his children the best education and values has remained unchanged.

As of writing, no information was received about the updates of the student’s suspended graduation. For now, the university considers filing charges against Atty. Tambuang.

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