by Nathaniel E. Carampatana | October 22, 2022
Following various reports and testimonies of Sillimanians harassed by Basilio Reboton, a person with mental illness, the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) committed to taking necessary actions to help the victims and prevent future incidents in and out of the campus.
Last Sept. 8, various accusers filed complaints against Reboton following an incident where a student filmed him harassing her. On Oct. 17, he was filmed again harassing Sillimanians along Katada St., Dumaguete City.
According to Hazel (not her real name), one of the victims, she and her friends could not get out of their car because Reboton prevented them by guarding the doors.
“We panicked. He was nearing our car, pretending to be a parking boy. We were all girls at that time and he peeped through our window. He stared at one of my friend’s legs while making licking gestures at the window,” she recalled.
Hazel said that they wanted to get out of their car and fight back but were too afraid to do so. They tried to cover the windows with a cloth but Reboton would still find a way to peep.
“I was already crying and my friends were literally shaking. Minutes after the incident, we called the police but no one came to address the issue,” she added.
Hazel said that they reported the incident the day after but the complaint failed since it must be done on the same day.
Meanwhile, the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) through its Advocacy Committee, released a statement accompanied by a Google Form link where the accusers could submit signed statements about their experiences and help bring the defendant to justice.
The statement instructed Sillimanians to report any sightings of Reboton near the campus and move to drive him away from campus grounds.
In an interview with the Weekly Sillimanian, Margaret Tangon, SUSG Advocacy Committee Chairperson, explained that the SUSG released the statement after developing a plan to ensure the safety of the Sillimanians.
“With these plans involving the university administration, SUSG, and LGUs, we are within the capacity to make certain this man will be off the streets – and the university will do whatever it takes to remove this threat,” she said.
Since the statement’s release, the SUSG Advocacy Committee has contacted PNP Dumaguete, Rodolfo Jull B. Locsin Jr., Silliman University Public Assistance and Safety Office Head (PASO), and Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann, Silliman University President.
PASO immediately mobilized the security personnel through their memorandum. The University President acknowledged the SUSG’s call for action and appointed the necessary offices to aid them with their initiative.
Since then, Abe Cadeliña, SU Student Organizations and Activities Division head, has forwarded copies of the victims’ signed statements which will be presented to the University Legal Counsel.
The victims and the counsel are currently still in the works of creating statements that can be upheld in a court of law.
Tangon stated that once they reach the goal they hoped the initiative would accomplish, the SUSG would already have a plan of action to ensure the victims’ welfare.
She also thanked the victims who spoke up, the concerned Sillimanians who helped in the process, and the university administration who reinforced the student body’s call for action.
To further aid in the process, Tangon proposed that Silliman University be more in touch with its student body and not wait for a call for action written by the SUSG when incidents happen.
“We at the SUSG Advocacy Committee like to keep it real. Sexual assault happens because sexual assailants exist. There are no preludes to when sexual assault happens, and no one ever expects it to happen,” she said.
She then added that the university should use its center for guidance counseling to help students deal with their emotional and mental states after experiencing difficult times.
In the future, if there are threats to the safety of Dumaguete City’s citizens, we expect immediate action from the City Police. We have enough information now to believe that there are threats to our safety due to inaction,” she concluded.
As of writing, SUSG informed tWS that they are waiting for the official statement from the University Legal Counsel and PNP.