Latest Stories

CIS teacher, others face criminal case over drowning of 2 students

By , Jucell Marie P. Cuyos

Immigration officials are on the lookout for a Canadian teacher of the Cebu International School (CIS) in relation to the Sept. 12 accidental drowning of two students during a field trip in Bataan.

If the teacher Susan Rigby tries to leave the country, she will be advised that she has a pending criminal complaint, said Casimiro Madarang III, immigration officer of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) regional office.

He said an “alert bulletin” was issued by the Secretary of Justice at the request of the legal counsel of the Gullas family.

A 13-year-old grandson of university owner and newspaper publisher Jose “Dodong” Gullas was one of two CIS students who drowned while swimming near the Kairukan Waterfalls in Morong, Bataan.

Rigby was one of the teachers who accompanied 42 CIS students to Bataan for a field trip as part of the school’s celebration of Philippine Week.

Rep. Eduardo Gullas, brother of the University of the Visayas executive vice president, told Cebu Daily News that a criminal complaint was filed yesterday with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila against the superintendent of CIS and five teachers in relation to the drownings.

He said swimming was not supposed to be on the itinerary of the Sept. 12 student field trip to Bataan.

Gullas said they learned that Rigby was booked on a Cathay Pacific flight to Toronto, Canada via Hongkong last Monday.

“Why should she travel when classes are ongoing? Her intention is really to escape,” Gullas said in a phone interview from Manila.

He said the complaint was filed in Manila with DOJ Prosecutor General Claro Arellano by parents of the students who joined the field trip.

(Madarang of the BI regional office yesterday said no Susan Rigby appears on their record as having left the country.)

The school administration declined to issue a statement when CDN asked about the Canadian teacher’s status last night.

“I’m sorry but we do not have any comment on the matter,” said Paula Ruelan, CIS spokesperson and marketing manager in a text message to CDN.

According to Congressman Gullas, a hold departure order (HDO) was eventually issued against Rigby.

“The DOJ is empowered to issue a Hold Departure Order. What protection can victims have if we have to wait for a case to be filed in court? It’s a tedious process to file a case in court,” Gullas said.

He clarified that his brother Jose “Dodong” Gullas was not among the complainants in the case.

(No document was shown to CDN of either an “alert bulletin” or a “hold departure order” as of this writing.)

The 13-year-old boy who drowned, Kyle Julian, was the only son of Jacqueline Gullas-Weckman, daughter of Jose Gullas. Jacqueline also served as chairman of the CIS board of trustees, the governing body of the private school.

“Parents of the CIS students who joined the field trip are really in anguish. Their children could have perished. They decided to file the complaint,” said the congressman.

“The parents are very disturbed. They are so confused,” said Gullas.

He said one of the parents who was very upset and pressing to take legal action is Winston Garcia, brother of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, whose son joined the field trip to Bataan.

Kyle Gullas-Weckman and Korean national Jae Hak “James” Jung were Grade 8 students.

Initial news reports of the accident said four CIS students, all boys, jumped into the water near the Kairukan Waterfall, a local tourist spot in barangay Binaritan of Morong, Bataan despite warnings by their local guide not to do so.

Two boys were rescued. James was pulled out of the water unconscious and later died, while Kyle was missing for several hours until his body was found at the bottom of the pool of water.

School officials reported the tragedy on the CIS website, but gave few details of how it happened or how teachers or their escorts responded to the emergency. The online bulletins were taken down shortly after.

CIS Superintendent Deidre Fischer in a posted announcement said their focus for now was on the welfare of students left traumatized by the accident, their grieving families and the faculty.

The Department of Education (DepEd) regional office said it would conduct its own investigation of the incident.

As of yesterday, Madarang said that nobody by the name of Susan Rigby left the country based on immigration records in Cebu.

“There was an immediate need to act because there was a report that she planned to leave the country.

But since no hold departure order was issued by a court, Madarang said if Rigby insists on leaving the country, all immigration officials would do is notify Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

He said an alert bulletin was different from a hold departure order which is issued by the court.

A hold departure order bears the photo of the accused and is flashed to all airports and seaports so the subject is not allowed to travel, said Madarang./with correspondent Carine Asutilla

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cebu International School (CIS) , Crimes , criminal cases , drowning , Immigration , Susan Rigby

  • Jones

    so they’re filing a criminal complaint to the teachers? how about the school who authorized the field trip?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VNLEL6SV5GHRUCLB3WSZVOZCUA RockA

    Unless the teachers threw the youngsters into the waterfall, the kids will have to take some responsibility themselves.  The waterfall danger spot should have been roped off with rope and floats.  The school should have sent a liability waiver for the parents to sign before taking the risk of leaving the building with the kids.  If a kid had left the line to get something on the street and was hit by a passing motorist, would it be the teacher’s fault?  The Philippines is a dangerous place as so many just don’t want to follow rules.

  • Avery_23

    Why doesn’t it say whether the boys did it with the consent of the teacher or not? Since 4 boys jumped, 2 died, the other 2 must certainly know.

  • enna_insider

    for sure there was a waiver signed by the parents that’s why they are not suing the school only the teacher. i can totally understand if the families of the 2 boys will file a negligence case but the way they’re doing it smells of power-tripping. iba na talaga if u r rich and connected.

    de lima should be careful.. she appears to be the go to person of powerful people who want to speed things up.. and she is heading DOJ…

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Cebu has hair of John Paul II and piece of John XXIII’s skin
  • LTRFB denies Victory Liner appeal
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • Marketplace