Evelyn Chua-Qua v. Hon. Jacobo C. Clave and Tay Tung High School
G.R. No. 49549, August 30, 1990
FACTS: Petitioner worked as a teacher in Tay Tung High School in Bacolod City since 1963. In 1976, petitioner was a Grade VI class adviser where one Bobby Qua, 16 years old, was enrolled. Petitioner was giving remedial lessons to Bobby Qua as per policy of the school when petitioner and Bobby became very close. On December 24, 1975, they were married in a civil ceremony in Iloilo City, petitioner was then 30 years old. Bobby, only 16 years old, received the consent and advice of the latter’s mother, Mrs. Concepcion Ong. Evelyn and Bobby were married in a church wedding on January 10, 1976.
On February 4, 1976, Tay Tung High School filed with the Department of Labor in Bacolod City an application for clearance to terminate petitioner’s employment on the ground of “abusive and unethical conduct unbecoming of a dignified school teacher….” Petitioner was suspended without pay on March 12, 1976. Labor Arbiter Jose Aguirre, without conducting any formal hearing, awarded in favor of Tay Tung High School. Petitioner appealed to the NLRC claiming denial of due process for not receiving copies of affidavits relied by labor arbiter. On December 27, 1976, NLRC reversed the labor arbiter’s decision. This was in turn reversed by the Minister of Labor, but awarding 6 months salary to petitioner as financial assistance. Petitioner appealed to the Office of the President of the Philippines, and through Executive Assistant Jacobo C. Clave, reversed the decision of the Minister of Labor and ordered petitioner to be reinstated. Public respondent reversed his earlier decision however and supported petitioner’s dismissal from work.
ISSUE: Did petitioner commit an immoral act as a teacher warranting dismissal from work?
RULING: No, petitioner was never proved to have abused nor taken advantage, or abused or committed immoral acts with any student in any circumstance. The petitioner’s dismissal was based solely on her marriage to Bobby Qua and the imputed charges of abuse, immorality and unethical conduct were unsubstantiated, hence unwarranted and illegal.
Petition for certiorari granted, private respondent is ordered to pay petitioner back wages equivalent to three years without deduction and separation pay of one month for every year of service.