VICE MAYOR’S NEW THORN
Former law student claims Ungab is father of her child; sex harassment case pending
When it rains, it pours.
Another angry woman is after Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab of Ronda town after his wife attacked a lady lawyer with a baseball bat last week over allegations of infidelity.
Ungab’s former law school student, who filed a sexual harassment case against him last December, said the 41-year-old husband should expect more trouble.
The woman, a native of Leyte, posted a “Dear John” message on her Facebook account saying she would pursue her complaint which is about to be resolved by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
“It’s now due for resolution. I’m almost done with it,” Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño confirmed yesterday in an interview.
The complainant Claire (not her real name) went online to tell Ungab that the Feb. 26 commotion where his wife Pearl violently confronted his former law associate Jiecel Tiu with a baseball bat in a parking lot and public road in Cebu City, was his comeuppance.
Claire called the embarrassing incident “karma” for the male lawyer.
“Dear John Ungab. Gekarma najud ka… Dili pana mao, the worst is yet to come,” she said in her post. (Karma has caught up you. That’s not all, the worst is yet to come.)
DENIAL AND SILENCE
In the earlier investigation, Ungab denied the 27-year-old woman’s allegations that she was forced to have sex with him when he, as her law professor in Southwestern University in 2013, refused to release her grades.
Ungab declined to comment further when CDN got in touch with him last night.
His lawyer Leilani Villarino in a text message said “Atty. Ungab wants to maintain his silence.”
“The incident happened in 2013. Nag-agwanta ra ko kay dili ko gusto og samok,” Claire told CDN in an online interview. (I carried the burden because I didn’t want a commotion.)
But Claire says Ungab is the father of her one-year-old boy, whose photos she posted online.
Her complaint for violation of Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 comes with a claim for child support.
In her Facebook post, Claire wrote “Dear (son), agwanta lang ta gamay ha… He ruined my life and he ruined your life too. I love u son, walang iwanan bisan og nagkamang natang duha. I will make sure your father will compensate (for) all my tears, pangs, and pain.”
Claire told CDN she’s been waiting for the case to be resolved.
She’s being assisted in her legal battle by retired Judge Olegario Sarmiento of the Regional Trial Court.
Sarmiento, who is also a professor of SWU, said Claire used to work at the RTC Branch 24 in Cebu City as his para-legal researcher.
“I’m helping her in this case as consultant,” said Sarmiento, who retired in 2012.
He said they first filed the case against Ungab with the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas since he’s a vice mayor. The anti-graft office endorsed it to the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office since the alleged offense is not related to Ungab’s duties as a public official.
In 2013, Claire was a graduating law student in SWU College of Law.
According to Sarmiento, her grades were withheld by Ungab when she failed to submit a paper requirement in class. The senior student appealed for a chance to comply.
“She ended up going from one person to the other in order to find her professor,” Sarmiento said.
Claire allegedly went to the Ungab, Gealon and Associates law office. The two eventually decided to meet at a coffee shop at Crown Regency Hotel in uptown Cebu City.
According to the retired judge, Ungab told the student they would check in the hotel and that Claire was eventually compelled to have sex with him so that her grades would be released.
“I don’t know if they had succeeding meetings after that. But in her affidavit-complaint, Claire only mentioned one instance,” he said.
Nine months after, Claire gave birth to a boy.
“She told me that she’s willing to submit her son to a DNA test to prove paternity but I advised her to wait for the outcome of the criminal case because Atty. Ungab, in the course of the trial, may later on admit that the boy is his son,” Sarmiento said.
Claire’s son is now one year old and three months.
She said the lawyer is not supporting the child financially.
Under RA 7877, sexual harassment can take place in a work, education or training-related environment.
It is committed by a person having authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another, who demands, requests or requires any sexual favor from the other.
The offense can be committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person in a position of influence.
The penalty upon conviction is one to six months in prison or a fine of P10,000 to P20,000 or both.
In a school setting, this crime an happen when “the sexual favor is made a condition to the giving of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships, or the payment of a stipend, allowance or other benefits, privileges, or consideration.”
“The law doesn’t even require the favor to be consummated. In Claire’s case, however, it was really consummated,” said the retired judge.
SCHOOL NOT AWARE
Meanwhile, lawyer Inocencio De La Cerna, who is on the faculty of SWU, said he was shocked to learn of Claire’s declaration. He said the university has not received any formal complaint about the matter.
He said Ungab “has taken a leave of absence from SWU College of Law” following last week’s confrontation between his wife Pearl and lawyer Jiecel Tiu.
“Should there be any complaint of SWU or any of its colleges, rest assured that the SWU administration will certainly act on it,” De La Cerna said.
Last Feb. 27, Ungab’s wife went after Jiecel Tiu with a baseball bat, bashing her car and striking the woman several times. The 30-year-old lady lawyer denied she was the mistress of Ungab and said she left Ungab’s law firm last year because of the wife’s jealous fits.
Tiu filed a charge of frustrated murder against the wife, but the prosecutor downgraded it to slight physical injuries. Mrs. Ungab was ordered released from police custody.
Tiu’s sister lawyer Alisha Tiu yesterday asked the Municipal Trial Court in Cities to hold in abeyance further proceedings while they will contest the ruling.
Tiu’s lawyer Rex Fernandez said Prosecutor Rabillas was “biased”. The prosecutor said she respects his opinion but denied being partial to any party.
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