Embattled UP Pep coaches resign, but calls allegations 'character assassination'

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Embattled UP Pep coaches resign, but calls allegations 'character assassination'
The UP Pep Squad during the UAAP Season 84 Cheerdance Competition

MANILA, Philippines — The controversy-hit members of the coaching staff of the UP Pep squad have tendered their resignations following allegations of extortion and physical and emotional abuse during their tenure with the eight-time UAAP Cheerdance Competition champions.

Long-time coach Lalaine Pereña, who was the central figure in the investigative report released by student publications Philippine Collegian and Tinig ng Plaridel, released a 24-minute video addressing the allegations on Thursday.

Though stepping down from her post, the mentor denied the allegations and said that she was "heartbroken" by the reports.

"I don’t think we deserve what was written about us. We won’t last two decades if what we meant to do was just to abuse and take advantage of the members," she said.

Pereña was alleged to have collected exorbitant fines and fees from her members. She said that the narratives about money matters were "taken out of context".

She also pegged the allegations as "character assasination" against her and her staff.

"What happened to us was clear character assassination and we were unable to fight back," she said.

"We’re not extortionists. We’re not abusers, may it be mental or verbal," she added.

Another coach, Pio Opinaldo, is the one facing allegations of abuse.

In the same video, Pereña also apologized to current and former members for the issue at hand.

During her tenure, Pereña was able to lead the UP Pep Squad to become the winningest team in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition where it has eight cheerdance titles — tied with the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe.

Since the issue broke out weeks ago, UP has yet to issue an official statement regarding the matter.



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