Due process in student disciplinary cases


In Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong, the Court held that Guzman v. National University, not Ang Tibay v. CIR, is the authority on the procedural rights of students in disciplinary cases. Ang Tibay is the authority regarding due process in administrative proceedings.

Guzman laid down the minimum standards in the imposition of disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions, as follows:

It bears stressing that due process in disciplinary cases involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings similar to those prescribed for actions and proceedings in courts of justice. The proceedings in student discipline cases may be summary; and cross-examination is not, contrary to petitioners’ view, an essential part thereof. There are withal minimum standards which must be met to satisfy the demands of procedural due process; and these are, that the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them; they shall have the right to answer the charges against them, with the assistance of counsel, if desired; they shall be informed of the evidence against them; they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf; and the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.

In sum, they are: [1] written complaint; [2] right to answer with or without assistance of counsel; [3] right to be informed of the evidence; [4] right to present evidence in one's defense; and [5] decision  based on evidence considered.

The raison d’etre of the written notice rule is to inform the student of the disciplinary charge against him and to enable him to suitably prepare a defense.In De La Salle University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, where the Supreme Court affirmed the petitioning university’s right to exclude students from the rolls of their respective schools for their involvement in a fraternity mauling incident, the argument was rejected that there is a denial of due process when students are not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses against them in school disciplinary proceedings. Therefore, cross-examination is not a part of this type of due process.

In Go v. Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the Court rejected the argument that they were not given the opportunity to examine the neophytes’ written statements and the security officer’s incident report. These documents are admissible in school disciplinary proceedings, and may amount to substantial evidence to support a decision in these proceedings. In Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong, where the private respondents were students dismissed from their law school after participating in hazing activities, It was held:
Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were not accorded the opportunity to see and examine the written statements which became the basis of petitioners’ February 14, 1991 order, they were denied procedural due process. Granting that they were denied such opportunity, the same may not be said to detract from the observance of due process, for disciplinary cases involving students need not necessarily include the right to cross examination. (G.R. No. 169391 October 10, 2012)

Popular Posts