We beg to differ.

kristel_tejada_suicideTragic is the only thing that accurately describes the way student Kristel Tejada ended her life at 16 over an inability to pay tuition fees due to the University of the Philippines (UP) where she was enrolled in a Behavioural Science course. As to the conclusions that were drawn from all that, debatable is the only word that comes to mind.

* * *

What are the odds?

How many UP students have committed suicide in the last 20 years? Perhaps before we go into hysterics about how bad the UP is, somebody should check first how the suicide rate among UP students compares to the national average. According to the National Statistics Office, the rate of death by suicide in the Philippines has gone up over the last two decades. According to the numbers, Kristel Tejada’s being a 16-year-old and already a college student (by itself a fact that should be raising eyebrows as well) puts her squarely within the highest-risk demographic (boldface added by author for emphasis)…

While the figures might seem insignificant compared with those from neighboring countries that recorded the highest suicide rates, the numbers have gone up from 1984 to 2005, especially among the Filipino youth, said Dr. Dinah Nadera, a psychiatrist and an associate professor of the University of the Philippines’ Open University who has been working on a suicide prevention strategy.

“This simply means that there is an increasing trend of suicide [especially] among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24,” Nadera said at last week’s media consultation on suicide prevention conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Manila.

Did the UP administration “kill” Tejada? Perhaps there was some much-needed room for compromise and a bit of effort to to consider appeals on a case-to-case basis. But we need to be careful in what we choose to think with regard to this issue. This is an election year, and politicians and attention brokers are always sniffing around for things to turn into the latest outrage fad around which “campaign platforms” can be spun.

“Right to education” depends

Why is a college education important in the Philippines? Because a high school education alone gets you nowhere. At least that is the thinking that prevails in Philippine society. To many Filipino parents, kids who do not acquire a college education are failures. Filipino kids are therefore under intense pressure to secure that university degree at all costs. Failure to do so is tantamount to a death sentence in Philippine society.


Perhaps this was what was in Tejada’s mind in the final moments of her life.

Was it the UP that put that extremist notion in Tejada’s head? Think again. As the old saying goes, point your finger at someone, and you will find the other three pointing back at you.

Law of supply-and-demand

Employers of clerical labour can demand university degrees from their applicants because they can. If even people with college degrees are making beelines to submit their CVs to employers offering clerical positions — bank tellers, filing clerks, customer service representatives, etc. — it means employers can choose applicants who offer them the best value. It’s called a buyer’s market. Employers (buyers of labour) are in that rather peachy position of being able to buy the labour market’s equivalent of Mercedes Benzs for a pittance.

Trying to control that deluge of credentialled talent into automatonesque jobs is like trying to prevent flash floods from ravaging Marikina by building a dike around the city. The only real sustainable solution to flash flooding is to plant forests big enough to absorb all the water being dumped by the hammering monsoon rains that hit the Philippines every year. As much as it is essential to life, water in excessive doses is toxic. Same principle applies to a talented labour force available in value-crushing abundance. You need to grow the forest of opportunity that will absorb this deluge of warm able bodies so that their value appreciates and is appreciated.

Leave-of-absence is not permanent and certainly not the end of the road.

Many students (including some friends of mine when I was a student) take leave-of-absence from UP when they fall into personal cirumstances that render them unable to meet the demands of the UP system. Such circumstances include health issues, family issues, and, yes, financial issues. One friend of mine took a year off to help set up the family business. That put him behind by 21 units to our batch but nevertheless came back, picked up from where he left off, met his future wife in his new batch, and graduated with honours.

Think then whether a policy requiring students who are unable to pay their tuition to take a leave-of-absence is really that unreasonable. Should this policy be repealed in the aftermath of Tejada’s suicide? In this case, the answer to that question may not be as obvious as some people make it out to be.

* * *

It’s really an exercise of telling people to suck eggs when we emphasize how complex an issue suicide is. And so being complex we shouldn’t really be quick to jump into one conclusion bandwagon or another in our desperation to make sense of the senseles.


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  • david says:

    …wake up philippines…you can debate all day long about the reasons why people commit suicide but more than likely this is a direct result of a young girl unable to see any way of doing what she felt had to do for herself and her family…..all filipino should feel a sense of shame at this…it is the very pointed end result of successive failures of filipino governments…governments elected by all of you

  • jcc says:

    no benigno, i am not suing the school for manslaughter. i am suing it for negligence and the quantum of evidence is predonderance, not beyond reasonable doubt.

  • mayah says:

    Her suicide may have been caused by depression due to her inability to pay the tuition, or not. I think a better issue to look at is the way UP is handling cases of students who are having a very difficult time paying their tuition. I know of foreign and international schools which do all they can to help their enrolled student continue her/his schooling while at the same time looking for financial assistance elsewhere. The school gives the student all possible options and even help in securing scholarship for the student. They don’t tell the student to leave and come back when he/she found the money to pay the them.

  • ChinoF says:

    I’ll reraise the question: are you it’s she committed suicide over the tuition issue? Just that? I myself wonder what treatment she got from her family. What if her parents said, “Don’t study anymore, just work so you can feed us!” Sound familiar?

    • ChinoF says:

      Couple that with something like, “Be our ATM! If you don’t, you’re a useless sack of shit,” or something like that, and you get a more likely catalyst for suicide. But I’m only speculating.

      • david says:

        It’s quite probable…filipino parents are quite capable of asking far worse things from their children then giving up studies to support them..

  • Libertas says:

    According to the World Health Organisation the philippines has the highest incidence of depression in asia.

    The tragic death of a student should not focus solely on UP ( where i am sure there are lessons to be learnt, but who can hardly take the full blame, especially when people do not know of the individuals medical history, home life etc – people rarely commit suicide for a singular reason but a combination of factors), but on the wider cultural/societal issue of understanding, acceptance and treatment of depression.

    Western studies show that up to 20% (1 in 5 people) experience a depressive episode in their life.

    The stigma in society makes it a lonely disease and exacerbates the consequences, especially if parental pressure rather than support only magnifies feelings of shame, failure, worthlessness.

    Depression is generally misunderstood and always underfunded. It has a high cost of long term treatment with variable success rates so all governments/health departments try to shy away from education and treatment.

    Pressures in life create problems whether depression, suicide, drugs, addiction, anger, abuse.

    They will not go away or be resolved by changes in university fee amendments.

    People need to think deeper and learn how to mitigate such issues particularly as such incidents are not isolated and only likely to increase. A price of progress and the pressures which some cannot cope with.

    The people who should spot these things but invariably dont are the parents.

    • Proud Pinoy says:

      Hindi ako sang-ayon sa WHO propaganda.

      Filipinos are the happiest people in the world. Many studies have even shown that the wealthiest countries have the most depressed people because they leave empty, meaningless and materialistic lives.

      Tama si JCC. UP should be SUED. And where was Jesus when she prayed for him for a miracle? No answer. SUE Jesus also. Why didn’t God use his love and power to prevent her from killing herself? God, the ALL GOOD and ALL Powerful being is also responsible. SUE GOD too.

      And while where suing UP. We should SUE the United States of America for establishing UP in the first place.

      • ChinoF says:

        Wahaha. All the idiotic arguments are in this post.

      • Libertas says:

        and the brightest, most hard working, with the biggest d!cks.
        oh, and the biggest liars.

      • StopDrinkingVirility says:


        BTW, I know you just want to make fun sooooooo….

        “Well I was using old spoof nicks all the time. So old folks like you, benign0, Toro, etc knew all along what was up.

        I am still flabbergasted why so many Pinoys don’t appreciate satire and sarcasm. Sometimes you can make a point more devastatingly effective that way.

        Oh well, back to life. Until the next Philippine catastrophe. Have fun guys. The Philippines will remain a shit hole and there is only one solution: GET THE F*** OUT.


        Oh yeah, even Jesus Himself is INSULTED on what you are doing. If you try to counter your posts, then you admit that you are indeed… A FRAUD. 😛

      • MidwayHaven says:

        Sue me too; I used “UP” in this sentence.

  • Jaime Veridune says:

    She could’ve taken the LOA than take her own life. Then again, she was halfway through the term. Haply, it is a difficult decision to make in her circumstance.

  • jrx says:

    this could be out of topic, but i think it’s ironic that some of these protesters asking for better budget in education from the government were also pushing the RH Bill (Note: proposed P7.7B budget). Nakakaloka lang. Furthermore, I believe that there really is more than meets the eye. Any emotionally healthy person would not consider suicide as a solution just bcause she had to take LOA. I might be wrong but perhaps, the university’s decision is not the only reason for her decision. So to put all the blame to the university, burn the chairs and tables, frolic inside the hospital ain’t impressive at all. Then again, i might be wrong

  • Nathalie says:

    “16-year-old and already a college student”-
    This really is not surprising. I managed to start college at 15 so I really think it’s nothing to be surprised of.

  • Nathalie says:

    ’16-year-old and already a college student':
    This really is not surprising. I managed to start college at 15 so I really think it’s nothing to be surprised of.

  • Nathalie says:

    If she was poor, shouldn’t she be stronger when coming across hardships and challenges in life? And, based on the picture, she doesn’t really look poor. She might poor but she looks like a girl whose luxuries and whims were given to her by her family: an overly cared-for girl in a poor family, if you will.

  • tic says:

    You know the most offensive form of paying respect to the dead?

    Using ONE of the causes of her death as your vanguard to advance your political agendas.

    By gods activists and leftists, please stop. Like many others said, suicide is a very complex issue that doesn’t only stem from one cause. Reimagine the scenario if Kristel committed suicide because she failed a subject. Would you rally your flags for her? What cause? Because the professor was harsh in grading, and strict grading should be abolised? I’m sure you wouldn’t be as compassionate as before then, right?

    There was a note on facebook that said it all. I’m not the author or acquainted with her, just definitely agreeing with her point of view. Here it is:

    She died already. No need to display her corpse on a pedestal and scream for justice. We are trivializing her cause of death on a scale that only benefits our cause. Let her rest in peace.

  • jcc says:

    Who is dishonoring Kristel, those who blamed her and her family for or blamed UP for her death?

    In previous posts I have introduced two concepts: “distributive fault, or contributory fault” and “eggshell plaintiff.

    Those who argue that Kristel because of family problem was suicidal diminishes UP’s own fault, but under the doctrine of “contributory negligence, UP was and still is liable for her death.

    Those who argue that UP was the chief cause of her death, downplay her “pre-existing suicidal condition.” But I go with the argument of one commenter here that removing her from classes by forced LOA and confiscating her ID were the triggers for her suicide.

    I argue further that Kristel would have been alive today had not UP officilas acted more like they were bank loan officers, rather than educators, the former to see that the bank makes profits, the latter to discharge a lofty duty of cultivating the minds and promoting the welfare of their students.

    Legally the issue is whether UP acted negligently in failing to extend her another loan so she could keep her classes or in approving her request for full tuition fee discount again so she can be in her classroom instead of outsife it.

    What is so hard in extending her another loan and then writing both loans off by approving her application for a full tuition fee discount? Is this workable under the premises? If it is, then the school had breached its duty of care that is due to evey STFAP applicant. The fact that UP President Pascual had announced after Kristel’s death that he had streamlined the STFAP by collapsing the brackets instead of four into just one, and that approval time for STFAP must be done in 2 months instead of 6 are clear admissions that the school had been screwing up the implementation of STFAP.

    Additionaly, what is so hard in figuring out how much does a taxi driver makes in a day, to support five children and stay-home mom? You don’t have to sit down for six months in your air-conditioned room to find out. But to argue that it was the fault of the parents to have 5 children they cannot support to school is streching the argument farther away as to whether the school had acted negligently in the application of Kristel for another loan and for a full tuition fee discount. This is issue at bar.

    Assuming that the forced LOA and the confiscation of her ID were not the chief triggers for her suicide, but only contributed to her suicide. Does that excuse UP from responsibility?

    “One exception to the eggshell skull rule is the plaintiff who harms himself. For instance, suppose a plaintiff gets very drunk one night and wanders into the road, where she is hit by a speeding driver. Because of the high amount of alcohol in her system has thinned her blood, the plaintiff bleeds much more quickly and suffers severe brain damage as a result of the accident.

    Although the driver was negligent by speeding, the plaintiff made herself more susceptible to damage by drinking. In this case, the defendant may not be liable for the entire extent of the plaintiff’s damages because the plaintiff had a hand in them. This exception is similar to the rules of contributory negligence and comparative negligence used in some courts.

    We have similar provisions in the Civil Code on human relations which say that persons must act in a way so as not to harm others.

    • jcc says:

      I argue for the full responsibility of UP for Kristel’s death, but if it has only contributed to it, still it is liable within the range of its own neglect and cannot wash its hand from a clear duty that it has breached.

  • Norilea says:

    *agreeing with jcc and benigno’s statements. <> the rest was great, alot had shared their experiences, but some were out of the line. I hope this goes out to the people concerned. It doesn’t bring a good impression to the whole world. Quite alarming coz it’s recurring. Though there may be some who would understand, such as those who commented here, but that’s just a weebit of some people who have this patriotic intention to make a difference and wake the whole government. The rest are blindfolded. And the worst part is, that they’re pretending they don’t know it.

  • cnmc says:

    UP bearing full responsibility? Based on their posts here, I think some folks are living in a utopian fantasy, not the creaking jalopy that is the Philippines. To talk about abstractions that exist only in Philo/law textbooks and hold the UP administration – nay the state culpable for an individual’s personal decision to commit suicide just shows how far people are willing to ignore reality to accommodate their respective world views. The UP administration and by extension, the state and the filipino taxpayer – does not have an obligation to make a UP education accessible to all. It is not the charter of UP to ensure no one should stop school because he or she does not have enough money. It is not the UP administration’s duty to assess the likelihood of suicide of individual students prior to implementing its policies – policies which said students had accepted as terms & conditions of their enrollment. The facts remain that: a) significant assistance was provided although this was insufficient to allow her to continue schooling; b) Kristel could have returned – going on LOA was a temporary problem and is not uncommon in UP or other institutions; c) and most plainly, UP did not pull a trigger or provide the rope or plunge a dagger – it acted well within the bounds of its rights in implementing policy…yes, like a good bank officer…which is intrinsically no less noble a profession than an educator. Good bank officers who follow the rules are critical to ensuring there is sufficient capital for businesses to hire jobs, families to buy homes, people to build lives – but I digress. UP was unemotional or unsympathetic – kulang sa malasakit, maybe… – but cruel and murderous and culpable and fully responsible?… Please… Let’s not confuse the tragedy of suicide with having to justify some rationale behind it, esp. one which dovetails nicely with the vested interests of a very vocal and visible minority.

    • cnmc says:

      *hire jobs* hire employees 😐

    • jcc says:

      Nobody is accusing UP for murdering Kristel. I am accusing it for neglect that triggers her suicide. One is criminal which requires criminal intent, the latter for failing to exercise a clear duty owed to her.

      • Cnmc says:

        What does full responsibility then mean? even hired assassins or soldiers who commit war crimes dont shoulder full responsibility for the deaths of the people they kill when it is shown that their own range of choices were limited. With all due respect, what neglect? What clear duty? School administrators are that – administrators… Not social workers, or psychologists, or PCSO, or mother teresa. They have neither the skills nor the mandate to ensure kids dont kill themselves. While it sounds good, the Lofty duty of cultivating young minds is a euphemism and does not translate into any measurable, manageable job spec/metric.It is that….lofty. And while you may not have explicitly called it murder, there is no shortage of opinions and statements to that effect – the usual suspects spewing the usual vitriolic anti establishment propaganda, and there seem to be few people who want to call these people out for fear of being railroaded and mowed down by public sentiment.

        • Cnmc says:

          And just to add good school administrators do tend to be more like good bank officers than priests, confessors or social workers/case officers. The dilemma facing them is that their posts are political positions, and many of us are under the delusion that we are entitled to the trappings and entitlements of a welfare state like the united states or the scandinavian countries when we have nowhere near their resources or supporting processes or infrastructure or culture of administrative efficiency.

        • jcc says:

          hehehe…. just sleep over the idea of how come people are suing tobacco companies for causing lung cancer and emphysema.

          if you can’t figure out the reason why, you will never figure out the duty of the school towards their students.

        • cnmc says:

          Darn, oh yeah the civil code, we have such a wonderful legal system that we can hold it as an infallible paragon of logic and clarity. :) First, is it crystal clear exactly which specific duties is UP alleged to have so callously neglected? One could say…”Lofty duty…etc. etc.” The words “lofty” and “duty” do appear together quite often in open-ended non-binding policy/mission statements, flatulent election speeches and valedictions, the rantings of demagogues but nowhere in even a half-baked, half-reasonable job description, performance appraisal, procedural document, or best practice specification. While we’re dodging the kitchen sink, let’s just all pause for 5 seconds.… and examine whether equating the actions of UP administrators with those of tobacco companies which actively promote a harmful product as a consumer good at the same time misrepresenting its related risks, or a hypothetical speeding motorist who was already breaking the law before running over a pedestrian isn’t a bit disingenuous requiring a rather tenuously extended suspension of disbelief as well as a significant stretch of our collective imaginations. I just read a statement which I earlier missed saying – I deserved taxpayers’ money or something to that effect… That is just uhmmm…fantastic. sense of entitlement much? Even an Oblation scholar does not deserve taxpayers’ money… it is a privilege granted to said person which can be revoked should the party concerned be unable to uphold the terms and conditions of such granting… yes? You acknowledge yourself that suing UP would be a “test” of the legalities on this matter. Good luck with that :) But don’t you all think it’s more constructive to help put in coping and support mechanisms while recognizing the severe resource constraints by the UP administration than trying to pin a non-existent tail on an imaginary donkey. The name of this blog is GETREALphilippines, is it not? :)

        • jcc says:

          “Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all people, of the adaptation by the government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of the component elements of society through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelation of the members of the community.” Justice Jose P. Laurel

          Art. II, Sec 17, State Declaration of Policies of the 1987 Constitution provides:

          “The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.”

          The same constitution provides in Art. XIV, Sec. 2 par. 3:

          “Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidies, and other incentives which shall be available to deserving students in both public and private schools, especially to the under-privileged.”

          In 1989, pursuant to such state declaration, STFAP was implemented in UP, to give bright, deserving but under-privileged students access to education.

          This is a positive duty of UP as decreed by the Constitution and STFAP as a program to implement that declared State policy.

          The duty having been established, the next issue is whether that policy was implemented with due care as not to injure anyone.

          In 1989, based on what I have gathered from the TV interview of UP President Pascual, STFAP have four brackets. He collapsed this brackets into just one after the death of Kristel. And he decreed also that from this time on, applications for “tuition fee discount” be processed in 2 mos. Instead of 6 mos.

          I assumed that the four brackets represent 25% discount, 50% discount, 75% discount and 100% tuition discount depending on the income of the applicants or their parents.

          From 1989 until the death of Kristel, the same bracketing was maintained. It gives you the idea that applicant with income qualified for 25% discount in 1989, would still be qualified for 25% discount in 2012. It appears now that STFAP did not take into account the cost of living standard in 2012 and thus maintained the same bracketing in 1989. That if such is factored into the program, the lowest bracketed applicant in 1989 would now be qualified under the fourth bracket which is 100% tuition fee discount. In hindisight, President Pascual do away with the bracketing after this tragic incident as a recognition perhaps that their pro-rated tuition fee discount in 1989, was no longer relevant in 2012.

          The Civil Code provides:

          Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
          Did UP in performance of its duty act with justice, give Kristel her due, and in good faith?

          Were there shortcomings on the part of UP in implementing STFAP that seek to give meaning to that State policy for equal access to opportunities and education?

          Is UP not supposed to establish guideline that is reasonable and convenient to promote that lofty State policy instead of throwing a monkey-wrench on it? This is a rhetorical question.

          Also, how can UP ignore the fact that a semester consists of 4 months only. If an applicant who already passed the UPCAT and has applied for June slot, yet he has to wait up to November, during the second semester before he gets his application approved for the first semester.

          Now Pascual see the injustice in the implentation of STFAP by collapsing the brackets and short-leashing the approval time to 2 months.

          Your honor, I rest my case.

  • jcc says:

    Darn, all you have to to is read the provisions of the civil code. Tort/negligence is a specific cause of action of one who was injured on account of neglect of another… Since Kristel is dead, her survivors, the parents can bring a tort action against the school.

    Mother Teresa has no duty toward humankind. Her doing it was on her on volition. No public money was spent on her ministry. Money was donated by various groups including drug dealers.

    But if Mother Teresa found helpless people and put them under her care then abandoned them such that they were worse off than she had originally found them, she incurs liability for the degradation of their condition.

    School officials have that positive duty towards their students for the development of their intellect and well-being. Their failure to perform that duty which result to injury is an actionable tort.

  • cnmc says:

    We can all fantasize otherwise but nobody – not the government, not the rest of society, and certainly not the UP administration, – OWES any of us anything, including a highly subsidized UP education – by the simple virtue of us just being born and passing an entrance exam… Civil code or not. Owed… haiz…

    It is all well and good for them to give and grant but it is certainly not OWED. Public money = public interest, and it has been deemed in the public interest to make UP education more accessible to poorer households via significant subsidies – which has been done – but that is a far cry from guaranteeing free tertiary UP education, which would concentrate even more public resources into an institution which has already received a shockingly disproportionately outsized share of government money on a per capita basis compared to other educational institutions.

  • cnmc says:

    Ditto goes for the oh-so-very specifically worded and detailed “positive duty for the development of their intellect and their well-being…” Aside from the gaps in causality already pointed out by Benigno, how does “positive duty…etc.” exactly translate to “must give free education to all poor UPCAT passers.” Who is going to argue that STFAP has not provided greater accessibility? As an alternative course of action, aside from the arduous and flawed means testing of the current system, can UP improve the status quo by mandating an even more arduous, even more flaky and expensive psych test to identify at risk individuals who would have an adverse reaction to LOAs or a myriad range of conditions which may result from financial distress – hemophiliacs- in your analogy – to what “normal” persons would accept albeit with some difficulty.

    While the passion for argumentation, idealism, and righteous indignation might be laudable, it is misplaced. (although the sense of entitlement is decidedly not), we’re clutching at straws here and being very “creative” in terms of how we define the constructs of duty and neglect. This culture of “creative” tort litigation – a field which is so prestigious and valued precisely because it is so noble and altruistic 😉 – while beneficial for lawyers, is what makes malpractice insurance and by extension health care, health insurance so expensive in the US, ironically effectively robbing the poor of affordable coverage to pay rich lawyers and underwriters. Again, I digress. When we look at this case, it may be instructive not just to hypothesize at the myriad range of options that may have helped Kristel change her decision – counseling, better formal/informal support systems, lowering expectations, closer engagement with alternative sources of funding, and yes improved processes within UP – but also to understand the implications of said measures on the rest of the stakeholders of the education system – other than the relatively small group of UP students and their immediate families.

    To reiterate, UP administration officials may have been unsympathetic, kulang sa malasakit, hindi makatao, hindi mabait, hindi makonsensiya, hindi maka-Diyos… all judgment statements (which remain eminently contestable)… but are they FULLY RESPONSIBLE for another person’s personal decision to end one’s own life? Trying to pin the blame on UP and the state is ultimately flawed due to hugely unrealistic expectations concerning the proper role and current ability of the state to provide a given quality and quantity of a public good – education – esp. when it involves further concentrating resources in an infinitesimally small segment of Phil. society, the few tens of thousands of the UP cohort amidst a sea of indigent millions.

    • cnmc says:

      While the passion for argumentation, idealism, and righteous indignation might be laudable, (although the sense of entitlement is decidedly not) this passion is misplaced. :)

      • jcc says:

        The school is in “loco parentis” in the care of their students. This is a principle in civil law that holds that school is situated the same way as the parents of the students and thus it is expected to observe all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage or injury to their wards. This is this is the same principle that allows the school to impose even corporal punishment to its students..

        Being in “loco parentis” was UP acting with due diligence when it forced Kristel to take a leave of absence and confiscating her ID, thus even preventing her access to library facilities instead of exploring its resources so its ward can avail of the benefit of such resources that is due her under the circumstances?

        Does not extending her additional loan and writing them off later by approving her request for a full tuition discount were more ‘faherly’ acts than totally shutting her off from the door of educational opportunities?

        Again, this is a rhetorical question!

        • jcc says:

          The issue of in loco parentis is explained in this link. But I have it at the back of my palm since my first year law.

        • cnmc says:

          Your honor, I guess the kitchen sink wasn’t enough? We’re throwing in the bathtub and the refrigerator in as well? :) As a purely academic thought exercise aka just thinking aloud, this might be acceptable – but as a discussion of real events, and available actions with real-world responsibilities and resource constraints and real-world consequences, we are really DEEP in the twilight zone with this latest bombshell. College administrators are acting in the place of parents? in UP of all places? – these are very very very very very very rose-colored glasses we’re seeing the world through.

          Since you mentioned that you deserved some other poster’s taxpayer money while you were studying, I assume that you hail from UP or some other state university – and anyone who’s ever heard the gobbledygook from SAMASA or the tirades from the CEGP during student election season knows that many students – including those who are screaming the loudest for more subsidies certainly do not regard the UP administration as their parents… unless this relationship involves a very dysfunctional family.

          It is worth noting in the very source you cite says… “Though in loco parentis continues to apply to primary and secondary education in the U.S., application of the concept has LARGELY DISAPPEARED IN HIGHER EDUCATION.”

          As a brief interlude to this ahem… exchange of opinions and divergent views of the world, and this is maybe me just being impertinent and wishing to inject a bit of lightheartedness – I distinctly remember almost two decades ago, my Philo I teacher throwing a piece of chalk at my blockmate for doodling on her notebook in the midst of a lecture – and it hit her right smack in the middle of her head, I swear – like it was laser-guided. :) My blockmate was not being disruptive, nor did she fail to answer a question posed to her. The professor, a full professor and HoD if I remember correctly, was simply pissed off at the impudence of this student to blithely ignore his rambling exposition. He was certainly not being fatherly at the time and might have severely traumatized my classmate to the point of rendering her incapable of passing Philo I – and by consequence, dropping out of school and denied the sacred and inalienable right to education, I guess there should have been someone noble and heroic enough to right that terrible indignity at that time and sue my Philo teacher’s socks off for unfatherly conduct…when he was acting in loco parentis. but alas, our block then – freshies eons ago, which now includes 7 lawyers from UP Law, 3 law professors at local and overseas institutions – well associate and assistant professors – also equally blithely went about our business to head off to our next class despite that travesty of the doctrine of social justice and in loco parentis!

          Why stop at Jose P. Laurel, why not cite Pope John Paul II’s or Horacio dela Costa’s views on social justice, which probably even go further to draw its source from divine not just human inspiration? Or any number of US presidents or UN Secretary Generals. Am sure every Philippine President has probably written or said something on the subject – esp. around election time. I’m sure even Erap or his speechwriters have something beautiful to say about social justice. A lot of beautifully vague este broadly comforting words and lofty ideas…lofty like the clouds, yes? We all know how great that has worked out for us. This is being impertinent, but I’ll share the name of a rare politician who didn’t just avoid using the term “social justice”, but appeared to have absolute disdain for the concept – Lee Kuan Yew – the ultimate realist/pragmatist of a statesman who didn’t use the word lofty too often either. He actually used the Internal Security Act to jail without charge, some of its advocates for decades despite widespread criticism from the rest of the world. And while he’s definitely not a saint, and has his own problems and detractors, compared to ours, he and his government and his civil service and his educational system didn’t do too badly I guess, notwithstanding his aversion to this almost universally promoted central tenet of good governance :) anyways…

          Back to regular programming,
          On the subject of the constitution,

          a)doesn’t the dep. of education already receive the highest allocation amongst all departments? Doesn’t UP already receive more funding than any other single public educational institution on a per capita basis?

          b)isn’t such a system of grants, etc. established? Wasn’t receiving a 70% discount proof of this?

          c) I do not have it scribbled at the back of my palm but I do recall reading in old dusty decrepit tomes for prep for moot court in high school extracurricular shit ages and ages ago, the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, which draws consequence from concurrence or coincidence – essentially causality from timing – after this, so because of this – which I think might apply to the reasoning that UP admin changed the rules because of the tragic incident and was an acknowledgement that previous policy was gravely erroneous. Could it be possible that this change in policy could be attributed to other factors – e.g. additional sources of funding, results of ongoing reviews recently completed, successful cost-reduction in other areas, budget surpluses?

          All rhetorical questions, yes? :)

          Like Benigno mentioned – it doesn’t take a lawyer to show how far removed one event is from the other… and just looking at this from just a big-picture view – if I may indulge to paraphrase myself… The Philippines is probably an example – and this case pointedly shows it – where some people expect the trappings, entitlements, (and possibly, the laws – and lofty – that word again – expectations) of a welfare state without the resources, processes, infrastructure, administrative capabilities, and detailed / realistic implementing guidelines of one…

          Honestly, your honor, I’m really still smarting over your statement to a poster named comonsueno… “DURING MY TIME AS A STUDENT, I DESERVE YOUR TAX MONEY…” While this is consistent with wanting to stretch our laws and the very definitions of the words neglect and duty to blame the UP admin for negligence, the even bigger story here is that we are in for a frightful roller coaster ride if every Filipino student in a public educational institution shares this sense of patently false entitlement.

        • jcc says:

          You argue with generalities. I am arguing from specific provisions of the constitution and the logic behind Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program of UP.

          In the U.S., the “in loco parentis” was a common law principle, in RP it is embodied in the civil code. Meaning you go by the code, not by case law on the matter.

          That it was not applied in higher education in the U.S., pertains only on the right of the school to “impose disciplinary action on their students” not on its obligation to treat their students with the highest and optimum care.

          Here, there was a duty imposed on the school not only by the principle of “in loco parentis” as further enunciated by the pertinent provisions of the civil code, but by the constitution itself. Benigno, just like you, were arguing the case of Kristel from layman’s point of view. No one should begrudge you for that. But Benigno’s articulation on the present issue, came short of legal elegance worth seeing in print in legal journal.

  • Cnmc says:

    Eventually this “im a lawyer card and thats the end of it” card would be played. Wasnt some doubt just cast on whether those specific constitutional provisions had been violated? If we automatically assumed that argumentation using stretched definitions of even innumerable specific citations of equivocal statements that could be interpreted any number of ways is necessarily superior to what is apparent and plain to laymen, then that is clearly a sign that there are too many lawyers in this world spoiling for some action. The welfare state and the attendant fixtures which tries to make many private responsibilities public is an artifice and cannot exist in reality for a 3rd world country which does not have the resources to perform true public responsibilities adequately such as policing its own borders. The taxpayer owed you nothing. You are responsible for your actions. I, for mine. Kristel for hers. That is as plain as it can get, and we know it in our gut. The simplest explanations can often be the best.

    • jcc says:

      Your argument is stretched, mine is anchored on the provisions of statutes, the constitution and well-settled principles in law. If you argue beyond your pay grade, please be humble enough to admit, that despite your perspicacity, you can screw things up.

      • Cnmc says:

        Awww… Arguing beyond my pay grade. I am utterly crestfallen at the brilliance of this rebuttal. :( :( :( Sigh, a pity for this back and forth to have ended in such an ugly and worse boring manner.. Oh well, let the statements and the reasoning stand as they do. When we start talking about pay grades, I indeed have to just eat humble pie and be content to just agree to disagree. :) best of luck to you jcc on this great quest to prove negligence when up administrators should have acted like a good father but instead ended up acting like well…administrators. Very humbly yours.

  • cnmc says:

    Though it obviously doesn’t have any relevance to the validity of an argument, I also wouldn’t be so trigger-happy to make hasty assumptions about relative pay grades given the tax rates in the US. The business of suing other people might not be so fantastic these days given the flight from litigation to fields like compliance, AML, conveyancing, etc. :) Perhaps more relevant and critical, many of the most important and common forms of argumentation fall outside the courtroom and the statutes of law / the constitution – salesmen making a pitch to a customer, professors making their case to students, peers selling their ideas to their peers in their respective fields, candidates asking for their constituents’ votes, we can go on and on…so to predicate the validity and strength of one’s arguments on the mere citation and creative reinterpretation of statutes is…well…not quite sound. But I agreed to disagree, and that’s that. :)

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