La Salle Green Hills sued for damages in drowning caseBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—La Salle Green Hills and one of its teachers have been sued by the parents of a boy who drowned during a swimming drill inside the school premises last year.
Ramon and Angela Galang are seeking P1.127 million in damages for the death of Simon Ivan Galang, then a freshman student of La Salle in Mandaluyong City.
According to the records of the case filed in the Manila Regional Trial Court last week, Simon’s class had a kite-flying activity and an earthquake drill on Oct. 11, 2012, aside from regular classroom lectures.
In the afternoon, the class went to the swimming pool for a physical education class under Julius Abesamis. Some students who were tired from the earlier activities begged off from the drill, which required only two students at a time in the 3-foot-deep pool. Simon apparently did not beg off.
The petitioners claimed that “Abesamis failed to do his task of watching carefully the state of every student undergoing the swimming drill.”
While in the pool, a classmate noticed that Simon was weak and tried to pull him out of the water. Another classmate helped them out as Simon went under water for a couple of times. They said Simon was still gasping for air at the time but their teacher was apparently not around.
Abesamis and a lifeguard on duty came when Simon was already out of the pool. They tried to revive the student but they were not able to do so, the petitioners said.
Simon was taken to Cardinal Santos Medical Center where doctors revived him. But since Simon was no longer breathing and had no pulse for quite some time, the doctor told his parents that he might suffer from multiple organ failure and be in a vegetative state.
On the 14th day at the hospital, Simon was pronounced dead. The parents “strongly believe that the death of their son could have been avoided had (Abesamis) exercised utmost care and prudence which was expected of him as the physical education teacher.”
La Salle was also deemed responsible by the parents because the incident happened within the premises of the school and during school hours. The parents said the school helped them pay some of the hospital bills but they still shouldered the wake and burial expenses.
The parents are seeking indemnity for actual, exemplary and moral damages amounting to P1.127 million.
The Inquirer tried to get the side of La Salle Green Hills but according to Emmie Cabral, Ronda Indrie, the executive assistant to the school president Bro. Victor Franco who was authorized to speak on the matter, was “engaged as of the moment.”
Over the phone, she quoted Indrie as saying the Inquirer should write a letter expressing its “intention” to Franco.
Told about the possibility of the story being run without the school’s side, Cabral said: “Everything has to be approved.”
When pressed about whether Abesamis was still connected with the school, Cabral stood her ground and said, “I’ve been told for you to write the letter.” -With a report from Kristine Felisse Mangunay