Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation School of Law conducted its first lecture this academic year entitled: Lecture Series No. 1, Virginians, be a buddy, not a bully. Together we stand against bullying, hazing, and cyber libel, attended by the VMUF Grade 12 Senior High School and all the freshman and transferee students of each VMUF college department last September 21, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the VMUF Event Center.
Hazing, bullying, and cyber libel have been prevalent in recent years. Cases of these encounters have risen, especially within school premises. This served as the motivation of the School of Law to conduct the lecture. Ms. Maria Aurabien Macaranas-Muyano the President of the VMUF School of Law Student Association gave the welcome address and introduced the key note speaker and lecturer, Prosecutor. Emmanuel E. Laforteza (Officer In Charge Provincial Prosecutor, Pangasinan) who discussed the three issues one by one and gave the students time to share their thoughts, ask questions, and then answer them afterward.
"Why want to be physically hurt to be accepted?"" stated Laforteza, pertaining to hazing- the act of violence viewed as a sign of acceptance and brotherhood. Laforteza also discussed its effects and its legal consequences, mentioning the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 which was officially designated as Republic Act No. 8049 amended by Republic Act No. 11053 in 2018, and is now known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. The law regulates school-based initiation rites and discusses the penalties faced by those proven guilty.
In addition, Laforteza mentioned the instances where a teacher bullies his/her student, explaining that instances like this should not be taken lightly and must be raised with the administration. Furthermore, he also clarified the meaning of bullying and affirmed that "Bullying is not a joke". This opened a discussion on what is considered bullying and how severe it must be for a joke to be considered a form of mockery.
Afterward, the topic of cyber libel was discussed. As part of a society fueled by social media, Laforteza reminded everyone to be responsible social media users. A single click or comment can be considered a basis for a libelous case. Students were also encouraged by Laforteza to not be afraid and urged them to fight in these types of situation.
Apart from the lecture, the School of Law informed everyone that they were giving free services which includes legal consultation and drafting of documents such as affidavits, compromise agreements, contracts, demand letters, and position letters.
Additionally, the VMUF guidance office were also present at the event, assisting the School of Law with the registration and attendance. The masters of ceremonies for the lecture were Mr. Randy Tolentino and Ms. Trixie Dela Cruz, who are both part of the School of Law Student Association.
To mark the end of the lecture, the Dean of the School of Law, City Pros. Alejo M. Salo, (Ret), gave the closing remarks.