SC: 30yo teacher, 16yo student's romance NOT illegal

The case below is between a 30-year-old female teacher and a 16-year-old male student. Many are curious about what the Supreme Court would say if it were between an older male teacher and a minor female student.

From the outset even the labor arbiter conceded that there was no direct evidence to show that immoral acts were committed. Nonetheless, indulging in a patently unfair conjecture, he [the arbiter] concluded that "it is however enough for a sane and credible mind to imagine and conclude what transpired during those times." In reversing the arbiter's decision, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) observed that the assertions of immoral acts or conducts are gratuitous and that there is no direct evidence to support such claim, a finding which herein public respondent himself shared.

[The Supreme Court], therefore, at a loss as to how public respondent could adopt the volte-face in the questioned resolution, which [this Court] hereby reject[s], despite his prior trenchant observations hereinbefore quoted. What is revealing however, is that the reversal of his original decision is inexplicably based on unsubstantiated surmises and non sequiturs which he incorporated in his assailed resolution in this wise: . . . While admittedly, no one directly saw Evelyn Chua and Bobby Qua doing immoral acts inside the classroom it seems obvious and this Office is convinced that such a happening indeed transpired within the solitude of the classrom after regular class hours. The marriage between Evelyn Chua and Bobby Qua is the best proof which confirms the suspicion that the two indulged in amorous relations in that place during those times of the day. . . .With the finding that there is no substantial evidence of the imputed immoral acts, 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.

It would seem quite obvious that the avowed policy of the school in rearing and educating children is being unnecessarily bannered to justify the dismissal of petitioner. This policy, however, is not at odds with and should not be capitalized on to defeat the security of tenure granted by the Constitution to labor. In termination cases, the burden of proving just and valid cause for dismissing an employee rests on the employer and his failure to do so would result in a finding that the dismissal is unjustified.

The charge against petitioner not having been substantiated, [this Court declares] her dismissal as unwarranted and illegal. It being apparent, however, that the relationship between petitioner and private respondent has been inevitably and severely strained, [this Court believes] that it would neither be to the interest of the parties nor would any prudent purpose be served by ordering her reinstatement. (G.R. No. 49549; August 30, 1990)

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