Teacher’s slap had nothing to do with student death — autopsy report

Cristina Chi – Philstar.com

October 12, 2023 | 2:04am

MANILA, Philippines — The Grade 5 student who was recently slapped by their teacher did not die due to the physical impact of the act but of “natural causes” triggered by a rare condition, the Antipolo City police chief bared Wednesday afternoon.

In an online call to Philstar.com, Police Lt. Col. Ryan Manongdo said that the autopsy examination on 14-year-old Francis Jay Gumikib found that his death had “nothing to do” with being physically hit by his teacher, which happened more than a week before he died.

The results of the autopsy show that the Peñafrancia Elementary School student died of “cerebral edema secondary to intracerebral hemorrhage, consistent with a ruptured artery with arteriovenous malformation,” Manongdo said.

The medico-legal report showed that Gumikib had been born with a “rare condition” that would have eventually brought health complications, Manongdo added.

A cerebral edema refers to the swelling of the brain, while an intracerebral hemorrhage is a type of stroke that happens when tiny arteries become ruptured.  

Meanwhile, an arteriovenous malformation is listed on the website of the National Organization for Rare Diseases, a US-based organization focused on research on rare diseases.

While Gumikib was found to have had tuberculosis based on the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s initial autopsy examination, this was also ruled out as a cause of death. “The (tuberculosis) found in his lungs did not reach the brain. It’s not related.”

The Antipolo City police chief said that the medical doctors at PNP’s Rizal forensic unit have explained the results of the autopsy and their interpretation of it to Gumikib’s parents. 

The autopsy results were released by Camp Crame at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and cascaded to the Antipolo City police station at 4 p.m. 

“We gave (the parents) a copy of the autopsy report and encouraged them to seek any medical experts if needed if there are doubts about the results,” Manongdo said in Filipino.

There are, however, no doubts about whether Gumikib was actually slapped by his teacher, the police chief said.

“We proved that he was slapped. No question. Sufficient evidence and testimonies were provided to us, and these are all corroborated,” Manongdo said. 

The Antipolo City police will be filing a complaint against the teacher for their alleged violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

Two other ongoing independent probes into the incident are being conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Human Rights.  

The teacher has been placed on a 90-day preventive suspension without pay pending the investigation against her by DepEd.

Gumikib was rushed to the hospital at least three days after he was slapped by his teacher during a test in September, his mother said in a radio interview last week. 

While Gumikib’s mother said that her son had developed a brain hemorrhage after the incident, forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun last week cautioned against immediately presuming that it was the teacher’s slap that triggered the hemorrhage due to vague details in the hospital-issued death certificate.

READ: ‘Slapped’ student died of brain swelling, but expert says abuse may be ruled out as cause of death

Since 2012, DepEd has forbidden the use of corporal punishment to discipline a student and also requires a zero-tolerance policy for all acts of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination bullying and other forms of abuse.


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