Teacher suspended over ‘illegal’ collection of fees
Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - August 26, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas has suspended a public high school teacher in Cebu City for allegedly collecting unauthorized fees amounting to at least P46, 440 from his students and for displaying improper behavior while performing his duty.

The anti-graft office found Rico Masong Cayanan of Abellana National School administratively liable for "conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service." He was meted a penalty of suspension for six months and one day without pay.

 "As a teacher, respondent (Cayanan) has no right to engage his students to some tasks beyond the scope of their subject. He should at all times respect his students as well as restrain himself from acts unbecoming of a public official and instead sets himself as a role model to his students," read part of the decision of lawyer Irish Amores, graft investigation and prosecution officer.

Cayanan was handling specialized course on cosmetology.

The case stemmed from a complainant who reported to the anti-graft office over the phone about the alleged irregular acts of Cayanan.

During the investigation, a total of 54 former students of the respondent gave sworn statements attesting that their teacher collected amounts from them.

The amounts were supposedly used for the purchase of second-hand air-conditioning unit, tarpaulin which the student allegedly did not know what it was for, electric fan, leatherette cover of a bed, handouts, foot spa machine, bed foam, plants and paraffin wax, among others.

The teacher also allegedly acted improperly by forcing students to buy materials from him which were allegedly overpriced, for failing to give grades to those who have not paid for the materials, for directing students to perform tasks not related to their subjects like preparing juice and buying personal goods, for embarrassing students in front of others and speaking explicit, and for allowing men to get inside the classroom while female students were half nude and being massaged during classes.

In his counter-affidavit, the respondent denied the charges against him. He explained that the training facility for the course needed a beauty care spa room or laboratory with functional equipment, apparatus, tools, implements and materials such as air-conditioning units, facial steamers, electric pot, and electric stove.

He said the school did not provide these facilities and materials so he had to buy them personally and let the students use them for free.

However, the students were required to bring their own supplies and materials such as essential oils, waxes and body scrub ingredients, he added.

He claimed that the students agreed among themselves to pool their resources in order to buy equipment and tools, insisting that he did not compel the students to do it but only encouraged them to bring any equipment available in their home.

He, however, admitted that the students contributed amounts for the tools and equipment.

He further denied that he asked the students to perform unnecessary tasks.   To support his claims, he submitted affidavits of 13 students.

But the anti-graft office gave weight to the claims of the 54 students, explaining that the evidence presented by the teacher to counter the allegation was not enough.

"The positive allegations of the students as reflecting in their respective sworn statements are more convincing than the denial of respondents," she added. (FREEMAN)

 

 

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