Philippines probing 14-year-old student’s death after alleged slap by teacher

BenarNews staff
Philippines probing 14-year-old student’s death after alleged slap by teacher Parents and guardians watch as students gather inside a public school in Quezon City, Metro Manila, on the first day of its reopening, Aug. 22, 2022.
Basilio Sepe/BenarNews

Education authorities in the Philippines said Tuesday they had launched investigations after a 14-year-old grade school student died after a teacher allegedly slapped him in the classroom about two weeks ago.

The boy’s mother told local radio stations that her son had died on Monday. He fell into a coma after complaining about an earache and headache following the alleged slap.

Francis Jay Gumikib, a student at Peñafrancia Elementary School in Antipolo City, east of Manila, was slapped by his teacher on Sept. 20, the boy’s mother, Elena Minggoy, alleged in radio interviews. 

She said her son was still able to go to school for three days, but on Sept. 26, he started vomiting and complaining about intense pain and loss of balance.

Francis was admitted to the intensive care unit of the government-run Amang Rodriguez General Hospital, where he died on Monday morning.

“Upon admission, he underwent a CT scan and X-ray, and there they found out that there was bleeding in his brain and [a] blood vessel rupture,” Minggoy told Radyo Pilipinas.

Recounting her son’s account, Minggoy said that the teacher slapped him while scolding him during an exam. According to her son, the teacher pulled his collar and his hair before slapping him on the face.

“My son told me that after he was slapped, he temporarily went deaf. He also told me, ‘My ears hurt, Ma,’” she said in a separate interview with Teleradyo. “He said, ‘I feel like there are many creatures creeping on my head. Please bring me to the hospital now, I cannot take it.”

While corporal punishment is prohibited in the Philippines, there are sporadic reports from parents about such incidents in schools.

BenarNews could not immediately reach the teacher for comment but understood that he had been suspended, pending investigations.

Meanwhile, Minggoy called on Vice President Sara Duterte, who also holds the position of education secretary, to help get justice for her son’s death.

Duterte had yet to issue a statement, but the Department of Education’s spokesman, Michael Poa, told reporters on Tuesday that the city’s schools division was investigating the incident.

A regional office of the Department of Education also launched a probe, officials said.

The City Schools Division Office in Antipolo issued an order on Tuesday directing a fact-finding team to look into the death. 

The Antipolo City Police are also investigating the possibility of filing criminal charges.

Lt. Col. Ryan Manongdo, the Antipolo City police chief, told reporters that they were waiting for the autopsy report to determine the cause of the child’s death and that they may press criminal charges.

Basilio Sepe and Gerard Carreon contributed to this report from Manila.


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