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)?
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.
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.
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.