Viral : Salutatorian Speech Controversy

Sto. Niño Parochial School in Quezon City defended its officials' action in a post on social media, where it said that the speech of salutatorian Krisel Mallari was not appropriate for a welcome speech. The speech that Mallari delivered during their commencement exercises last March 21 was also not the one she submitted and was approved by school officials, it also said. According to officials, they showed Mallari's father how her grades were computed, but turned down his request to see those of the valedictorian's, as that would require the permission of the parents, the report said. The school also insisted that their grading system is computerized and cannot be altered, it added.

The video, which has gotten more than 1.5 million views on YouTube as of this posting, showed school officials interrupting Mallari as she spoke at the podium. The student tried to go on with her speech, where she said, "Maraming tao ang nagbulag-bulagan sa isang sistemang marumi at kaduda-duda. Ngunit 'di ko ito tinularan. Ipinaglaban ko ang sa tingin ko’y tama. Nanindigan ako bilang isang Pilipino na palaban at may takot sa Diyos." At this point in the video, the school officials who were seated onstage went to the podium and handed her sheets of paper. As she tried to continue, the host interrupted her again, saying, "May I call on the attention of our school principal? Krisel can take her seat." In her supposed speech, Mallari closed with these words, "I am Krisel Mallari, a Filipino citizen who would rather choose to fail with honor, than win by cheating."

In an interview, her sister Katherine said Mallari wanted transparency, adding that the adviser refused to show the student her grades when she asked how they were computed. Mallari's older sister also said the salutatorian was expecting the Best in Religion award, which was not given to her during the commencement exercises. She added that the school has not reached out to their family after the ceremonies. Even without receiving a formal complaint, the Department of Education said it will look into the circumstances surrounding incident involving officials interrupting a high school salutatorian during her "unapproved" speech which went viral. DepEd spokesperson Asec. Toni Umali said their legal department has been directed to coordinate with DepEd-National Capital Region and the Quezon City Schools Division to address the matter. "We shall always respect the rights of our students to freely express their thoughts and feelings in light of existing laws and the provision of the Constitution and in a manner and forum that is appropriate," Umali said, reading the DepEd statement. The said investigation "shall focus, among others, on what was actually said, or prevented to be said, by the student, and the other matters raised or were not raised in her speech, like the alleged issues on transparency on the computation of her grades," the statement said. It will "also look as to whether the school acted within or beyond its authority when it stopped its student from delivering her prepared speech to their graduating class," it added. The controversy stemmed from a video that circulated on social media, showing officials of Sto. Niño Parochial School in Quezon City stopping its salutatorian, Krisel Mallari, who took the podium with a different speech than what was approved. The video has gotten more than 1.5 million views on YouTube as of this posting. Mallari, through his older sister Katherine, she was only calling for transparency in the computation of her grades. The school released a statement on Tuesday, saying they did that to stop Mallari from discrediting the valedictorian.
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