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Child abuse case filed against teacher

First Posted 07:47:00 02/23/2008

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A PROFESSOR at a state college in Argao yesterday filed for an indefinite leave of absence as two complaints for acts of lasciviousness against a minor were filed against him for inappropriate behavior toward four college freshmen students.

Vicente Duran was accused of inappropriately touching the young women.

Senior Insp. Teodulfo Manatad III, chief of the Argao police station, filed the complaints for violations of Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Act with the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor?s Office based on the affidavits of 16-year-old and 17-year-old students who pointed to their computer professor.

The child abuse complaints are in addition to four harassment complaints earlier filed against him.

In her affidavit, Elena (real name withheld), 16, said that last Feb. 18, Duran told her to visit him at his office at the Cebu State College of Science and Technology ? Agro Industrial and Forestry College (CSCST-AIFC) to discuss her grade.

She said that while she was talking to Duran in his office, he got up, hugged her and kissed her forehead, cheek and lips. He also took her hands and placed them around his waist.

Elena said the teacher let her go when she complained, but again hugged her a few seconds later.

She said she was able to free herself from Duran and walked out of the office, crying. But the teacher followed her out, held her and brought her to a nearby table ?to talk.?

The teacher, she said, told her not to tell anyone of what he did to her.

When Duran finally let her go, Elena said she immediately told a friend what happened.

Two of Elena?s classmates also made a joint affidavit saying they saw Elena crying in class after her meeting with Duran.

Two other students who filed their own harassment cases against Duran recounted similar stories, wherein Duran invited them to his office to discuss their grades only to make advances.

Another complainant, Anna (real name withheld), 17, said Duran?s advances towards her happened in the open.

She said she was sitting on a bench in the school accompanied by some classmates when Duran approached her and asked why she was staring at him.

Without waiting for an answer, Duran allegedly pinched her legs.

She said she told the teacher to stop, but ?he held my hands tightly while his face got closer with mine, as if he wanted to kiss me,? Anna said.

Anna said she resisted. Duran then asked her who her ?Valentino? was. When she did not answer, Duran took out his cellular phone and told her, ?Kung magka-uyab ta hatagan tika ug cellphone (If you become my girlfriend, I?ll give you a cellphone).?

Anna said she told Duran that he was already married. The teacher then walked away.

One of Anna?s friends filed an affidavit concurring Anna?s story.

Dr. Pedrito Pontillas, director of CSCST-AIFC, said the school yesterday received Duran?s request for a leave of absence, with an assurance that he would cooperate with the school committee tasked to investigate the allegations.

The committee will first get the side of the students before talking to Duran.

The committee is headed by Dr. Catalino Ejida, director of the school?s College of Agriculture and Forestry. Among its members are department heads, the president of the school?s Parents-Teachers Community Association, and the president of the supreme student council.

The committee invited the parents of the complainants to a meeting yesterday afternoon, but they did not show up, Pontillas said. The aggrieved students were also absent from class yesterday.

The dean asked the students and their parents to cooperate. He assured that the school would not cover-up Duran?s actions. Reporter Nilda L. Gallo with a report by Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

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