THE Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas has suspended a public high school teacher in Cebu City after he was found administratively liable for collecting unauthorized fees amounting to P46,440 from his students, and displaying improper behavior while on duty.
Rico Masong Cayanan, a Cosmetology instructor of Abellana National School, was found guilty by the anti-graft office of “conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” and was meted a penalty of six months and one day suspension without pay.
The case stemmed from an anonymous caller who informed the Ombudsman’s office about the alleged irregular acts of Cayanan, prompting the Ombudsman’s field investigation office to conduct an investigation.
During the investigation, the 54 former students of Cayanan gave sworn statements that their teacher collected several amounts from them, supposedly for the purchase of equipment to be used for their Cosmetology subject, such as a second-hand air-conditioning unit, tarpaulin, electric fan, leatherette bed cover, handouts, foot spa machine, bed foam, plants, and paraffin wax, among others.
Cayanan allegedly acted improperly by forcing students to buy materials from him that were overpriced and not giving grades to those who have not paid the materials.
It was also found that Cayanan allegedly directed students to perform tasks not related to their subject, like washing the carpets, curtains, blankets, and water glasses, making Nestea drinks, scrubbing his feet, having his hair ironed, and buying goods for him outside of the school beyond school hours.
In his counter-affidavit, Cayanan denied the charges against him. He explained that the training facility for the course needed a beauty care spa room or laboratory with functional equipment, apparatus, tools, implements and materials such as air-conditioning units, facial steamers, electric pot, and electric stove.
He said the school did not provide these facilities and materials so he had to buy them personally and let the students use them for free.
However, the students were required to bring their own supplies and materials such as essential oils, waxes and body scrub ingredients, he added.
He claimed that the students agreed among themselves to pool their resources in order to buy equipment and tools, insisting that he did not compel the students to do it but only encouraged them to bring any equipment available in their home.
He, however, admitted that the students contributed amounts for the tools and equipment.
He further denied that he asked the students to perform unnecessary tasks. To support his claims, he submitted affidavits of 13 students.
But the anti-graft office gave weight to the claims of the 54 students, explaining that the evidence presented by the teacher to counter the allegation was not enough.
"The positive allegations of the students as reflecting in their respective sworn statements are more convincing than the denial of respondents," she added.
Unauthorized collection of P 46K from students violation of Anti-graft law
The Office of the Visayas Ombudsman has indicted a public high school teacher in Cebu City after it found probable cause to charge the teacher for collecting unauthorized fees amounting to P46,440 from his students.
The anti-graft office said that unauthorized collection of fees by teacher Rico Masong Cayanan from the students is considered a violation of Section 3 (a) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Cayanan, a Cosmetology instructor at Abellana National School, was already suspended for six months and one day without pay after anti-graft office found him administratively liable of “conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” for the unauthorized collection of fees along with his improper behavior.
The case stemmed from an anonymous caller’s report, informing the Ombudsman about the alleged irregular acts of Cayanan. This prompted the Ombudsman’s field office to conduct an investigation on Cayanan.
During the investigation, 54 former students of Cayanan gave sworn statements that their teacher collected money from them, supposedly for the purchase of equipment to be used for their Cosmetology subject. These equipment included a second-hand air-conditioning unit, tarpaulin, electric fan, leatherette bed cover, handouts, foot spa machine, bed foam, plants, and paraffin wax.
In his counter-affidavit, Cayanan denied the charges against him. He said the students agreed among themselves to pool their resources to purchase the equipment.
Cayanan insisted that the specialized course of Cosmetology needed training facilities such as a beauty care spa room and a laboratory with functional equipment that the school did not provide.
He said he had to buy the needed equipment and tools, which he claimed to let the students use for free.
In her resolution, Graft Investigation Officer Irish Amores said that there was “manifest partiality and evident bad faith” on the part of Cayanan when he collected fees from his students on several occasions and doing so would be prohibited by a 2012 department order issued by the Department of Education.
Amores said that it was not the responsibility of the students to buy the equipment supposedly needed for the course.
Under Section 3(a) of RA 3019, the offense has three elements, namely that the accused is a public officer discharging official functions, that he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or inexcusable negligence, and that his action has caused undue injury to any party, including the government.