School may be held liable for bus crash deaths—Acosta
The BestLink College of the Philippines could be held liable for the death of 15 people including students and seriously injuring others after a bus crash in Tanay, Rizal while on their way to a National Service Training Program (NSTP) trip.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said she has ordered PAO lawyers to provide legal assistance to the families of the casualties and injured students.
“There could be civil liability on the part of the school,” Acosta said Tuesday.
Acosta explained that the waiver signed by students or their parents on any liability of the school in case of accidents during the trip holds no water.
“The waiver, if there’s really any, was unilateral on the part of the school. It was not a license to allow the deaths and injuries,” Acosta said, citing as precedent the findings of the court in the case against Sulpicio Lines Inc. over the 2008 sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars that claimed more than 800 lives.
She added that there will be a team of PAO lawyers led by Atty. Mariel Baja who will study possible criminal negligence of the school apart from its civil liabilities. Baja is the sister of one of the 14 passengers of the Florida Bus that fell into a ravine in Mountain Province in 2014.
Acosta said trip should not be mandatory because it is not an academic subject.
She also called on the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education to temporarily suspend all field trips in schools and colleges to prevent similar incidents. RAM/rga
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