Manila: A heart-wrenching incident has emerged from Antipolo City, east of the capital, where a Grade 5 student tragically lost his life just days after reportedly facing a harrowing form of punishment — a slap — administered by his teacher.
The victim, Francis Jay Gumikib, a 14-year-old student attending Peñafrancia Elementary School, passed away on Monday (October 2), following a grievous turn of events.
Francis slipped into a coma at a local hospital a few days after the fateful incident of being slapped on his ear.
Authorities revealed that the victim's mother asserted that her son's classmate had disclosed details of the grim episode. Reportedly, their female teacher resorted to pulling the student's hair before delivering a forceful slap to his ear on September 20, 2023.
The incident unfolded amidst unruly behaviour exhibited by the victim's classmates. This heartrending incident has left the community shaken, with many clamouring for answers and justice as they grapple with the profound loss of a young life.
Investigations are underway to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the event. Police Chief, PLt. Col. Ryan Mangondo of Antipolo City told local media that pending the autopsy report and the consent of the parents of victim's classmates to testify, authorities are gearing up for potential legal action.
Mangondo stressed on the critical importance of the forthcoming medico-legal and autopsy reports in determining the cause of the student's untimely death.
Princess, the sister of Francis, disclosed that her brother had confided in the family about being slapped by his teacher.
Headaches, ear pain, internal bleeding
Over a week after the incident, Francis pleaded to be taken to the hospital due to unbearable headaches and ear pain, ultimately revealing the gravity of his condition.
Medical examination uncovered internal bleeding in his brain, plunging him into a coma.
An eyewitness account emerged from a classmate who reported that Francis had merely been informing the teacher about disruptive classmates.
Shockingly, the female teacher — who was not identified in the reports — responded by aggressively pulling the student’s and delivering a forceful slap to his neck, leaving a conspicuous bruise.
Teacher denies deadly slap
The accused teacher, however, denied the severity of the slap.
Lerma Flandez, Antipolo Schools Division Superintendent, expressed deep sorrow over the incident and assured everyone concerned of appropriate actions in response to the alleged child abuse case.
Kelvin Matib, an official from the Department of Education Antipolo Division, affirmed that they would not shield the teacher involved and pledged to prioritise the best interests of the learner according to child protection policies.
Both Flandez and the local Antipolo government extended their condolences and pledged assistance to the grieving family. The school management has also arranged for professional counseling to support students grappling with the loss of their schoolmate.
In a compassionate response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ordered the initiation of case management for the Gumikib family and immediate provision of financial assistance to cover hospital and funeral expenses.
The Rizal Police Provincial Office issued a statement condemning the alleged act by the teacher, expressing solidarity with the community in the face of the heart-wrenching tragedy.
A photograph released by the police reveals a conspicuous, dark bruise on one side of Francis’ neck, offering a poignant visual testimony to the incident's severity.