By Trisha Macas/GMA News – Krisel Mallari, who graduated as salutatorian from Sto. Niño Parochial School in Quezon City on March 21, did not even reach halfway through her graduation speech before she was interrupted by school administrators for deviating from the approved text.
“Sa bawat taon na lumipas ay puspusan ang pag-aaral na ginawa ko sa eskwela, naniwala ko sa patas na labanan. Sa pagtatapos ng school year na ito’y isang hakbang na lang ang layo ko sa finish line, ngunit sa pagdating ko rito’y naglaho ang pulang tali na sisimbolo sana sa aking tagumpay. Naglaho nga ba o sadyang kinuha?” she said before the host of the ceremonies took the microphone away from her.
But Mallari, as seen on a video uploaded to YouTube, tried to go on with her speech.
“Maraming tao ang nagbulag-bulagan sa isang sistemang marumi at kaduda-duda. Ngunit di ko ito tinuluran, ipinaglaban ko ang sa tingin ko’y tama, nanindigan ako bilang isang Pilipino na palaban at may takot sa Diyos,” she said before she was interrupted again.
At this point in the video, the school officials who were seated on stage went to the podium and handed her sheets of paper.
Mallari then tried to continue her speech but was interrupted once again by the host who said, “May I call on the attention of our school principal? Krisel can take her seat.”
The salutatorian stayed on the podium for a few more seconds but went back to her seat when another set of papers was again given to her.
In her supposed speech, Mallari closed with these words, “I am Krisel Mallari, a Filipino citizen who would rather choose to fail with honor, than win by cheating.”
Salutatorian is an academic title traditionally awarded to the second-highest graduate. Only the valedictorian is ranked higher.
All Mallari wanted was transparency, her sister Katherine told GMA News Online.
When the top students were announced before graduation day, Mallari asked her adviser how the grades were computed. But her adviser refused to show her the grades and told her, “Bakit? Wala ka bang tiwala sa akin?”
However, Katherine pointed out that if the adviser, the teachers, and principal were not hiding anything, they should just show the computation of the grades to her sister.
“Kung wala talagang nangyayari, bakit natatakot silang ipakita ‘yung computation ng grades?” she said.
Katherine also said that the school should not have interrupted her sister when she was delivering her address.
“Hayaan n’yong sabihin ang gusto niyang sabihin… ‘Yung pinaka-point po noong speech ni Krisel ay gusto niyang mabago ang sistema kasi kawawa ‘yung susunod sa kanya na mag-aaral kung paulit-ulit nalang na nangyayari iyon,” she added.
Best in Religion
Mallari’s older sister also said that the salutatorian was expecting another award: Best in Religion. But later in the commencement exercises, the award was not given to her.
Katherine also said that even a priest who attended the ceremonies wondered why Mallari was not given the award.
She also said that the school has not yet reached out to their family after the graduation ceremony last Saturday. The entire staff seemed to have disappeared right after the ceremonies, she said.
Despite everything, Mallari is still thankful that many netizens found her interrupted speech inspiring.
The salutatorian will study Accounting at the University of Santo Tomas.
GMA News Online also tried to reach Sto. Niño Parochial School but it has not answered any calls.
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