BAGUIO CITY (July 27) — The city schools division superintendent claimed she never denied being a witness to an incident that nearly killed a Department of Education (DepEd) employee last January and that her office has taken action to solve the case.
DepEd City Schools Division Baguio Superintendent Ellen Donato in an interview claimed she did not deny being a witness to the battering incident that almost killed Data Encoder Machine Operator (DEMO) Sofia Bermudez but she clarified that the commotion was already over when she came into the picture.
“I can not be a witness to something I did not see,” Donato said. She, however, said she is willing to testify if summoned.
Sofia’s complaint named three superiors as Division Supervisor Theresita M. Mayam, Assistant Superintendent Ceferino M. Cawaon and Domato. The complaint also identified the perpetrator as Wilgetcortez Godoy.
“That this incident was not only witnessed by Division Supervisor Theresita M. Mayam and the complainant’s co-officemates but also the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Ceferino M. Cawaon and the Division Superintendent, Dr. Ellen B. Donato,” Sofia’s complaint read.
Meanwhile, Donato added that the division office acted on the case. She said actions taken included calling for a settlement meeting and forwarding Sofia’s complaint to the DepEd regional office.
Sofia in an earlier press conference asserted that DepEd Baguio did not appropriately act on her complaint. She added she was boxed in the face, kicked, hit with a chair and strangled by a male colleague in front of her superiors and other co-workers on January 12 inside the Baguio DepEd Division Office.
“The division office could not start any administrative proceedings against Mr. Godoy as the complaint filed by Ms. Sofia Bermudez against Mr. Godoy for physical injuries and grave threat is not sufficient in substance and in form,” said the DepEd Baguio report and recommendations submitted to the regional office.
Sofia’s medical certificate showed she suffered contusions in the arms and legs and concussions in the head. “She was forced to undergo medical treatment at the Baguio Medical Center where she was confined for three days,” Sofia’s complaint mentioned.
Ces Peta, coordinator of the Confederation of Unity for the Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) criticized the actions of DepEd Baguio.
“Having witnessed the incident, these DepEd officials all the more have the material basis to immediately act on Sofia’s case,” Peta stressed.
Peta added DepEd Baguio officials should have taken Sofia’s case more seriously because it is their responsibility to resolve cases like this in order to maintain conducive working conditions at the office.
“While Courage is fighting for the rights and welfare of government employees, we do not condone conduct unbecoming of a public servant,” Peta said.
Verni Yocogan-Diano, Innabuyog chair said passing the burden to the regional office can not be considered an action at all. She said this (forwarding to DepEd-CAR) is a very technical action that has not helped the victim.
Diano added, having witnessed the incident, DepEd superiors could have imposed disciplinary actions on the perpetrator. She said the administrative case was already withdrawn from DepEd and submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Diano further said the criminal case of grave threat and serious physical injuries is now in court. No cause has been established for the act of violence.# Kim Quitasol and Sandra Ferwelo for NORDIS