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CAGAYAN, Philippines – A priest and former official of the Cagayan State University condemned the school for being “unrepentant” over possibly driving a freshman to commit suicide.
Father Ranhilio Aquino, CSU’s former vice president for academic affairs, officiated a mass on Thursday, March 5, for Rosanna Sanfuego, the student who killed herself allegedly because she couldn’t pay for school fees and therefore failed to take her midterm examinations.
However, Dr Julius Capili, the dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) of CSU, denied the claim of Sanfuego’s family that the student was barred from taking the examinations due to non-payment of fees.
Capili said Sanfuego did not report to class anymore starting 5 days before she committed suicide on February 25 in their house in Abulug town, Cagayan, so there was no way the teachers could have turned her away, as her mother claimed. The examination period had yet to start on February 26.
“What we do naman kasi, even if the students have no permits, we still allow them to take the test kasi hindi pa naman finals,” Capili said. (What we do is, we allow students who do not have permits to still take the exam since it’s not yet the finals.)
The dean said students are given sanctions for non-payment of fees only during the finals, and this sanctions can only go as far as not releasing the student’s grades.
“Ang problema kasi, on the 20th, hindi na siya nag-report. Nung midterm examinations na, hindi na siya pumasok,” Capili said. (The problem was she did not report on the 20th to take the midterm examinations.)
Sanfuego’s remains were buried Thursday morning.
During the Thursday mass at the CSU gymnasium, Father Aquino said: “What bothers me most is that at Andrews Campus, it seems to be business as usual. No signs of grief, no signs of mourning, no signs of empathy. That is truly distressing.”
“Should we, CSUans – and I include myself – not be talking about this, beating our breasts and saying ‘Mea culpa,’ asking where we went wrong, where we failed her?” said Aquino, who is now dean of the San Beda Law School.
Father Aquino was invited to offer a mass, which was attended by students and faculty members.
Dean Capili said he had confronted his faculty members about the claims of the Sanfuego family, and the instructors said they had not seen the student during the examination.
“Hindi totoo ‘yun (That is not true),” Capili said, referring to the allegation of Sanfuego mother, Sophiya, that a teacher had sent her daughter out because she had no laboratory apparatuses. This was the story that Sanfuego supposedly told her mother before she committed suicide.
He also said that the CSU administrative officials, including President Romeo Quilang, convened last night to talk about the case.
Honorato Carag, the chief administrative officer of the campus, said CSU abides by the Commission on Higher Education order to scrap the “No permit, no exam” policy. He said the only recourse the school have is to not release the transcript of records of a student until he or she has been cleared of money and property accountability.
CSU, however, has a practice that before major examinations, students with unpaid fees will have to obtain an examination permit and present it to their instructors during the examinations.
Carag, however, cleared that the seeking of permit is not mandated. “Faculty members are instructed to simply note on the test booklet the words ‘no permit.’ That is a control mechanism to ensure payment of fees.”
The dean visited the family of Sanfuego on Friday, March 6, to extend the school’s condolences, day after the student’s mother complained that the school had not gotten in touch with them. – Rappler.com