The parents of one of two students who drowned during a field trip in Morong, Bataan last Sept. 12 is asking the court to stop the private school from “harassing” their three witnesses.
Jacqueline Gullas-Weckman and her husband David filed a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, injunction, and a hold departure order (HDO) against officials of the Cebu International School (CIS).
Named respondents in the case were school superintendent Deidre Fischer, Susan Rigby, and Tylen Herbst, among others.
The petition was filed with the Cebu Regional Trial Court (RTC).
“The respondents are still harassing them. The harassment is not confined to one incident. It continues. That’s why we are asking for a TRO,” said the petitioner’s lawyer Teodoro Almase.
The petitioners yesterday presented as witnesses Winston Garcia, brother of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, and his 14-year-old son who joined the field trip to Morong, Bataan.
In his testimony, the boy said Fischer earlier went to their class and asked him and two other female witnesses to withdraw their affidavits and testimonies filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ).
A criminal case for negligence is pending withe DOJ against school officials.
“Upon hearing her (Fischer), the two girls were upset,” he told the court.
Last Friday, Garcia’s son said he and his friends were playing a game in school when Fischer allegedly called his attention.
“She (Fischer) called and accused me of punching a student in the stomach although I didn’t do that. I feel helpless because she will not listen to anything I say,” the boy said.
During the proceedings, the boy was accompanied by his father and mother, Ma. Isabel Garcia. The petitioners also presented Garcia in court.
Garcia, the former general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), said he was upset upon learning that his son was harassed.
The court ordered CIS to present the respondents to defend themselves during the hearing next year.
RTC Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10 said he wanted to personally see the respondents to find out if the HDO can be considered moot and academic.
CIS represented by lawyer Edmund Villanueva sought the inhibition of the judge who had handled another case against CIS. But the judge went on to handle the case since the previous case against CIS involved different issues.
Immigration officials were advised by the DOJ to make sure that Rigby, a Canadian teacher of CIS, won’t leave the country.
Rigby was one of the teachers who accompanied 42 CIS students to Bataan last Sept. 12 for a field trip as part of the school’s celebration of Philippine Week.
A 13-year-old grandson of University of the Visayas owner and newspaper publisher Jose “Dodong” Gullas was one of two CIS students who drowned while swimming near the Kairukan Waterfalls in Morong, Bataan.
A criminal complaint was filed before the DOJ in Manila against the superintendent of CIS and five teachers in relation to the drownings. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter