ZAMBOANGA CITY—Four officials and five teachers of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (Adzu) have been accused of abusing a student with scoliosis last year.
Adzu refused to issue a statement on the case, heeding the advice of its lawyer.
Alfredo Jimenez, lawyer of the boy’s parents, said Adzu elementary principal Pilar Agraviador, assistant principal Nimfa Mabalot, students services director Marilou Drapiza, guidance counselor Benjamin Miranda and teachers Jennyvic Arcillas, Noel Malcampo, Jennifer Pingos, Rosel Lubrica and Maria Doriza Longakit have been named respondents in a complaint filed at the city prosecutor’s office here.
Jimenez said the boy’s parents are seeking moral and civil damages that could reach P2 million.
The alleged victim is a 12-year-old sixth grader who has scoliosis.
According to Jimenez, the abuses started in 2012 by teacher Longakit. “The boy was subjected to verbal abuse, ridicule and his physical condition was used by this teacher,” said the lawyer.
Jimenez said Longakit used the boy’s condition as an example of the effects of prolonged exposure to computers in a computer class.
The boy has been wearing braces from the neck to the waist following an accident when he was 9 years old.
Jimenez said the boy was “further humiliated” by Longakit when the teacher kept ordering the boy to walk faster when her class was moving to another room some 200 meters away.
“She is a teacher and she knows the physical condition of the boy yet she kept ordering the boy to hurry up,” said Jimenez.
Longakit, Jimenez said, also apparently discriminated against the boy when the teacher unjustifiably gave the boy a grade of zero for a project. Longakit’s treatment of the boy, said Jimenez, forced the boy’s parents to report the case to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in September last year.
Lawyer Frederick Ian Capin, officer in charge of the CHR in Western Mindanao, confirmed to the Inquirer that his office received the complaint.
Jimenez said the boy is a consistent honor student, but was suddenly removed from the honors’ list when other teachers—Drapiza and Miranda—falsely accused him of plagiarism during a poster-making contest in September last year.
The boy won first place in the elimination round and his entry was supposedly submitted for national level competition, but the principal questioned the originality of the boy’s drawing.
Jimenez said the boy used a photo from the search engine Google “as his inspiration for his poster.” “He didn’t copy it,” said the lawyer.
The principal issued a certification that the boy’s poster was a product of plagiarism after Miranda and Drapiza put into writing their accusation and filed a report at the disciplinary board last on Nov. 23, 2012.
The plagiarism claim was supported by Arcillas, Malcampo, Pingos and Lubrica.
The boy later earned a D grade, was suspended for two days and removed from the honors’ list. Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao