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MANILA, Philippines – The 14-year-old student in Antipolo City died of “natural causes” and not because of his teacher’s slap, the autopsy report from the Philippine National Police showed.
“It is clear that the raising of his [teacher’s] hand toward the child was wrong, although that was not the actual cause based on our findings, but we will file a complaint against her for the slapping incident,” Antipolo police chief Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Manongdo said in Filipino during an interview with DZBB on Thursday, October 12.
The Antipolo police will file a complaint against the teacher for alleged violation of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, which carries a maximum penalty of eight years imprisonment.
While they do not have a medical report that will support the claim over physical injury or homicide, Manongdo said they secured a statement about the slapping incident.
The teacher is under 90-day preventive suspension while administrative proceedings are ongoing.
Manongdo said that the Rizal forensic unit’s officer, Dr. Maria Anna Lissa dela Cruz, explained the results of the autopsy to Gumikib’s parents.
Manila Standard reported that according to Dela Cruz, Gumikib died because of brain inflammation and bleeding of the brain which are “non-traumatic in nature.”
However, Gumikib’s mother, Elena Minggoy, questioned the autopsy report and was advised to obtain a third party autopsy report.
According to Minggoy, her son was slapped by his teacher on September 20, after he reported his noisy classmates at the Peñafrancia Elementary School in Antipolo City.
Gumikib subsequently complained of ear pain and dizziness but continued attending school until September 26, when he was rushed to the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, a tertiary government hospital.
Gumikib fell into a coma and died on October 2, nearly a week after being hospitalized.
Earlier, forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun had raised doubts about the allegations that Gumikib died because of his teacher’s slap.
Teacher’s Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairperson Benjo Basas said the latest findings “did not absolve our colleague of possible administrative and criminal liabilities.”
Basas urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to safeguard teachers’ rights to due process and equal protection of the law.
The government, he said, should ensure a conducive learning and teaching environment by providing an adequate number of teachers and classrooms, sufficient rest for teachers, an effective guidance and counseling program, and a balanced policy for student discipline.
The Commission on Human Rights and the DepEd are conducting independent investigations into the boy’s death. – Rappler.com