Friday, February 13, 2009

Reasons of the heart

The Supreme Court was once asked to legally resolve a problem regarding this universal emotion called love.
This involved a May-December affair of a thirty year old grade six adviser who fell in love with her student fourteen years her junior.
This happened in Bacolod City in 1976 at a Chinese school operated by Tay Hung High School, Inc.
The story was about Evelyn Chua-Qua who was employed by the school since 1963.
In 1976, Bobby Cua a sixteen year old student was enrolled in the school.
Since it was the policy of the school to extend remedial instructions to its students, Bobby was imparted such remedial lessons.
In the course of these after-school remedial encounters, the couple fell in love.
On December 24, 1975 the teacher-student romance culminated in holy matrimony in civil rites.
It was followed by church ceremonies less than a month later.
However, the school did not like what happened.
On February 4, 1976, the newly weds faced their baptism of fire of marital tribulations when the school applied for clearance before the Department Labor to have the teacher-wife’s employment terminated.
The ground was: “For abusive and unethical conduct unbecoming of a dignified school teacher and that her continued employment would be inimical to the best interest, and would downgrade the high moral values of he school.”
The school however, was wanting in pointing specific acts of immorality between the two during those remedial sessions.
Yet, Evelyn the teacher was fired.
The case reached all the way to the Supreme Court.
The high court ruled that termination of employment cannot be adjudged if the grounds are not substantiated..
The court said: the avowed policy of the school in rearing its students should not be capitalized on, to defeat security of tenure, specially when there is no clear proof to establish a valid cause for dismissal.
The court also faulted the school for failing to show that the teacher took advantage of her position to court her student.
The court also dismissed the inappropriateness of a May-December affair in school.
The court said: “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."
The court also imparted that a teacher in her thirties falling in love with a teen-ager student should not automatically be deemed immoral.
“But definitely, yielding to this gentle and universal emotion is not to be so casually equated with immorality,” the court noted.
“The deviation of the circumstances of their marriage from the usual social pattern cannot be considered as a defiance of contemporary social moores,” the court added.
In the end, while the court ruled in favor of teacher Evelyn, and found her dismissal illegal, the court also recognized the strained relations between Evelyn and the school.
Reinstatement of Evelyn would no longer be prudent, the court said.
The court awarded Evelyn three years backwages and separation pay, and perhaps, wished they lived happily ever after.

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