WHO-GOAT PA! | Commentary on Krisel Mallari’s viral ‘hugot’ speech

krisel mallari DZRH
Krisel Mallari during an interview over DZRH (Credits: Facebook page of Jana Navarro Abejero)

Upon watching Krisel Mallari tell her story through her abruptly-ended salutatory address, many Filipinos were able to relate to it. Many of us perhaps concluded that “may pinaghuhugutan” si Krisel.

At least once in our lifetime, we’ve felt being robbed of something we think we truly deserved because of the “palakasan” or “padrino” system. It can be an academic recognition, an employment opportunity, a promotion, and similar stuff.  The universality of this hurtful experience is the main reason why the video of Krisel Mallari’s aborted salutatory speech quickly became viral.

However, more often than not, this feeling of victimization remains just that – a feeling. It’s usually very tough to prove that you were cheated. In Krisel’s case, how can her family ascertain that she indeed is the rightful valedictorian unless they see the grades of the one who got that recognition (something that school rules prohibit them from doing)?

krisel mallari DZRH
Krisel Mallari during an interview over DZRH (Credits: Facebook page of Jana Navarro Abejero)

Before anything else, I’d like to say that for me, what Krisel did was wrong. A commencement speech is a sacred occasion for an entire batch of students and their parents. It’s a ceremony that is meant to solemnize the end of a chapter in a student’s academic life. It’s not the right venue to air personal grievances against the school administration.

Honors aren’t everything 
If you’ve read her prepared speech (you can do so in this link), it’s obvious that academic competition is the root cause of her ill feelings and bitterness. Having the drive to succeed is not a bad thing. Sadly, competitiveness in the honor roll occasionally gets too ridiculous to the point that it seems that for some students and their parents, nothing else matters in life except awards, medals, and recognitions.

Truth be told, when high school graduates enter college, those accolades mean little since tertiary level is a completely different game. On the flip side, having earned all those awards and recognitions during high school can make students feel overconfident about their abilities – only to have their inflated egos busted once the realities of college sink in.

And, needless to say, when entering the workplace, employers seldom give a damn whether a student finished with honors or not. When applying for a job, what matters more are the skills and credentials you corralled while in college and the way you present yourself.

krisel mallari
Krisel Mallari with her family (Taken from her Facebook page)

A formal investigation into this will be an exercise in futility

The Department of Education has already launched an investigation into what really happened in the case of Krisel Mallari.  That’s silly because it’s as if the department has no other more important issues to deal with. If they want to probe every single instance where a student is complaining about not getting a certain award or citation, then they might as well create a new bureau for it.

Also keep in mind that the commotion wouldn’t have occurred if any of the following happened:

1) Krisel’s parents should’ve dissuaded her from doing what she did. If she was my daughter, this is what I’m going to say:

“Anak, I know you’re hurt. I know you worked hard to be the valedictorian and in my heart, you deserved it. But you  don’t have to pour your heart out on your graduation day. I’m worried it’ll make you look bitter and a sore loser. Now, promise me to do your best when you reach college and someday, we’ll all prove them wrong.”

2) The school officials shouldn’t have cut her off from speaking. Regardless of the way you look at the incident, there’s just no way of justifying what they did. It’s just plain bastos.

Imagine what would’ve happened had they just let Krisel finish her speech. Maybe instead of sympathizing with her, most of the attendees of the commencement exercises would be turned off by what she did. After all, her speech is largely self-centered, with very little mention of her batch’s collective journey. And also, wala sana yung viral YouTube video.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

2 Comments on WHO-GOAT PA! | Commentary on Krisel Mallari’s viral ‘hugot’ speech

  1. Very fair insight Sir Mark! Accolades and what not is immaterial in the college level. I had classmates in HS who were mediocre at best but excelled in the college level and in fact graduated as Cum Laudes while our Salutatorian in HS took several years to finish a degree simply because he shifted from one course to the other for reasons I won’t speculate.

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