Homicide case eyed vs. teacher accused of slapping Grade 5 student who later died

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Photos taken in the morgue show a huge, dark bruise on one side of Grade 5 student Francis Gumikib's neck.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 3) — Authorities are preparing to file a homicide case against a teacher who slapped a Grade 5 student who eventually died in Antipolo, the city's police chief said Tuesday.

Antipolo Police chief PLt. Col. Ryan Mangondo said they are waiting for the autopsy report and seeking consent from the parents of the victim’s classmates to testify.

“Malalaman natin iyan doon sa determination ng cause of death nung bata kung ano talaga ang dahilan," said Mangondo in an interview with CNN Philippines.

"Kaya napakahalaga ng medico legal at autopsy report para doon sa ipa-file na complaint against sa teacher,” he added.

[Translation: We have to know the real cause of the student’s death. That’s why the medico legal and the autopsy report is very important to the complaint to be filed to the teacher.]

Princess Gumikib recalled that her brother, Francis Gumikib, 14, a student of Peñafrancia Elementary School, told their family that he was slapped by his teacher on Sept. 21.

Over a week after the incident, her brother begged to be brought to the hospital due to intolerable headache and ear pain, Princess told CNN Philippines.

He was found to have internal bleeding in his brain, which caused him to go into a coma before he died on Monday, she added.

Meanwhile, a classmate recalled that Francis was just reporting to their teacher about their noisy classmates.

But the teacher suddenly pulled his hair and slapped him near the neck, the classmate said.

Photos taken in the morgue show a huge, dark bruise on one side of Gumikib's neck.

Mangondo said the teacher denied that she slapped the student hard.

Antipolo Schools Division Superintendent Lerma Flandez told CNN Philippines the school principal informed her about the incident last night.

"We are so saddened by this incident," she said. "We are taking appropriate actions on this alleged child abuse incident in one of our schools."

In a separate statement, the local schools division office also said the principal “has assigned an alternate teacher to handle the classes of the concerned who is on-official leave.”

Kelvin Matib, an official of the Department of Education Antipolo Division, said they will not protect the teacher.

“Because of our duty of confidentiality regarding our child protection cases, we cannot divulge any other details or sensitive information regarding the matter so rest assured pursuant to child protection policy, the best interest of our learner is our primary consideration," Matib said.

Assistance to students, family

Flandez and the local government of Antipolo assured the bereaved family that they will be provded assistance.

The school management also sought professional help to counsel students over the death of their schoolmate, she said.

“The school head forwarded a request for guidance counselors para makapagbigay ng debriefing sa mga [to give a debriefing of the] learners," she added. "We will seek help of city DSWD for possible counseling."

For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has ordered the conduct of case management for the Gumikib family and the immediate provision of financial assistance to cover hospital and funeral expenses.

“Social workers from the DSWD Field Office 4A have taken immediate action to support the bereaved family of Francis and provide them with essential assistance during this difficult time,” Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Group Romel Lopez said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Rizal Police Provincial Office also released a separate statement condemning the alleged act of the teacher.

With reports from CNN Philippines senior correspondent AC Nicholls