G.R. No. 49549 Chua-Qua v. Clave and Tay Tung High School August 30, 1990

Facts:

Herein petitioner was a teacher (30 years of age) who fell in love with her student (16 years old), and whom she later married. After their marriage, the teacher’s services were terminated by the school on claim of “abusive and unethical conduct unbecoming of a dignified school teacher” and whose “continued employment is inimical to the best interest, and would downgrade the high moral values, of the school.” The allegation of immoral conduct on the part of the teacher was based on supposedly several circumstances whereby the teacher stayed alone with the student in the classroom after school hours when everybody had gone home, with one door allegedly locked and the other slightly open. These instances, it would seem, arose in pursuance of the school’s policy of extending remedial instructions to the students.

Issue:

Whether or not petitioner committed serious misconduct or breached the trust reposed on her by her employer or committed any of the other grounds enumerated in Article 283 (Now Article 282) of the Labor Code which will justify the termination of her employment.

Ruling:

No. There was no substantial evidence of the imputed immoral acts, hence “it follows that the alleged violation of the Code of Ethics governing school teachers would have no basis. Private respondent utterly failed to show that petitioner took advantage of her position to court her student. If the two eventually fell in love, despite the disparity in their ages and academic levels, this only lends substance to the truism that the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know. But, definitely, yielding to this gentle and universal emotion is not to be so casually equated with immorality. The deviation of the circumstances of their marriage from the usual societal pattern cannot be considered as a defiance of contemporary social mores.”

This case has been very controversial as it involved an unconventional love story between a teacher and her student (who was a minor). The Supreme Court, in deciding this case, actually sided with herein petitioner. But as observed, it was not because of love that the court took the petitioner’s side. It was because there was no substantial evidence of the teacher’s alleged abusive and unethical conduct. If at all, the Court’s quoting of the famous “the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know” is only an expression of its belief that to love unconventionally is not necessarily immoral.

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