MANILA, Philippines -- An official from the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila admitted crying over the student who committed suicide Friday, two days after she was forced to go on leave for failure to pay tuition on time.
Speaking with radio dzMM Saturday, Dr. Tony Leachon, director of public affairs of UP Manila, said he is deeply saddened with the passing of the 16-year-old first year Behavioral Sciences student but noted that rules still have to be followed.
"Kahapon sa meeting with Professor Andrea Martinez, I cried, I shed tears for the lady. Napaiyak ako kasi sa dami ng tinutulungan natin," Leachon said.
"Nalulungkot kami kasi ang dami nga nating natutulungan kaya lang may mga prosesong dapat sundin," he added.
Martinez, the student's program adviser, had said the student was forced to file for leave of absence (LOA) on Wednesday due to financial constraints.
The student first filed for a tuition loan in her first semester and was able to settle her dues only last December. She again requested for a tuition loan for her second semester in January but was denied by the UP Manila loan board.
Leachon said the request of the student's father for his daughter to be enrolled and to apply for another loan in January was not granted since it was already mid-semester.
He said students who are not duly matriculated will not be allowed to attend classes and will need to take LOA.
"You need to do that nang sa ganun pag magbabalak ka pang pumasok sa unibersidad, hindi ka matatangal sa roster. Kasi kung 'di siya pipirma nun, 'di siya makakapasok sa susunod kung sakaling may pondo na siya," he said.
Leachon said the student was already supposed to be put under a lower bracket of the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) but was not able to submit all the requirements on time.
The student was assigned in Bracket D which meant she had to pay P300 per unit.
"Ang sabi ni Vice Chancellor [Josephine] De Luna pinilit nilang ma-bracket siya sa letter E which is free tuition. Unfortunately, 'di sila nakapag-come up dun sa deadline."
Leachon said: "Apparently, based dun sa mga na-gather ko ring information sa mga teachers, parang may konting family problem din sila...galit-galit. 'Di kasi nai-submit ng papa niya...'yung mga requirements like 'yung family photo, 'yung nagagastos sa pang-araw-araw kasi ito 'yung mga evidentiary documents na kailangan mo dun."
He also recalled that the day before the student committed suicide, UP President Alfredo Pascual had called for a meeting to instruct all chancellors to ensure that students will not be deprived of financial support.
"Bago [siya] mamatay, nung Thursday sinabi [ni Pres. Pascual] sa lahat ng chancellors sa Pilipinas under UP and at sa presidential advisory council, sabi niya 'I'm instructing all of you chancellors to ensure that no UP students will be deprived of financial support to be enrolled from this year on,'" Leachon said.
"Nagkataon the next day nangyari [itong suicide]," he continued.
He said it is also probable that the family of the student was having other problems, which caused the student to feel depressed.
"Ang personal na opinyon ko malungkot 'yung bata kasi doktor naman ako. May confluence 'to of events. There might be family involved... Probably 'yung bata bago matulog, depressed," Leachon said.