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STC wants case dismissed

- Mylen P. Manto (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - After the special civil action for writ of habeas data against St. Theresa’s College was dismissed, the STC High School Department now hopes for the dismissal of the criminal complaints and injunction filed against them.

Earlier, the parents of the minors who were barred from attending their graduation rites filed unjust vexation and child abuse against STC and Sister Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe.

The minors were barred the graduation after scandalous images of them were posted on a social networking website.

“St. Theresa’s College and its official led by Sr. Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe unjustly imposed a sanction that minor and four others cannot join the commencement exercise arising from the minor’s alleged failure to follow school regulations,” the complaint read.

However, Largo said the decision of Judge Raphael Yrastorza of Regional Trial Court Branch 14 dismissing the writ of habeas data would show the school did not violate any rights.

“The STC did not violate the rights of the minors and in fact the court adopts our argument that when these minors uploaded their photographs on Facebook and permitted their friends to view them, they lost their privacy,” she said.

Largo added she hopes that the dismissal of the writ of habeas data will have bearing of other cases pending before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

Moreover, Largo said the photographs subject of the instant case was not gathered by illegal means.

“More so that the purpose of such collecting of information was not for some unlawful ends but for the purpose of implementing school policies and discipline,” she said.

Largo added the decision of the court serves as lesson to all to be a responsible cybercitizens.

“Several jurisprudence can be cited and now a local has spoken that privacy is non-existent in the digital world. That is why using Facebook and Twitter or engaging in social media requires cyber responsibility,” the press statement reads.

Meanwhile, Largo said the photographs involving the minors were more scandalous than just them in bikinis.

“The truth is underwear, smoking in public places and drinking liquor,” she said.

Earlier, the parents filed a writ of habeas data to compel respondents STC and computer teacher Mylene Escudero to turn over the photographs of the minors.

 “That the minors’ Facebook accounts are under very private or friend only settings safeguard with password. That since the photos belong to the minors, they just cannot be used and reproduced without their consent,” the complaint reads.

They claimed the action of respondents in copying the photographs of the minors was a violation of their right to privacy.

In its answer, respondents claimed the photos were downloaded for the purpose of implementing the sanction.

Their arguments were adopted by Yrastorza citing gathering photographs were not taken in illegal means.

“More so that the purpose of such collecting of information and photographs was not for some unlawful ends but for the purpose of implementing school policy and discipline,” decision reads.  (FREEMAN)

CEBU CITY PROSECUTOR FACEBOOK FACEBOOK AND TWITTER HIGH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT JUDGE RAPHAEL YRASTORZA OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH MINORS MYLENE ESCUDERO PHOTOGRAPHS PURISIMA PE ST. THERESA
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