Senseless suicide: Did the University of the Philippines kill Kristel Tejada?


kristel_tejada_suicideTragic is the only thing that accurately describes the way student Kristel Tejada ended her life at 16 over an inability to pay tuition fees due to the University of the Philippines (UP) where she was enrolled in a Behavioural Science course. As to the conclusions that were drawn from all that, debatable is the only word that comes to mind.

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What are the odds?

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How many UP students have committed suicide in the last 20 years? Perhaps before we go into hysterics about how bad the UP is, somebody should check first how the suicide rate among UP students compares to the national average. According to the National Statistics Office, the rate of death by suicide in the Philippines has gone up over the last two decades. According to the numbers, Kristel Tejada’s being a 16-year-old and already a college student (by itself a fact that should be raising eyebrows as well) puts her squarely within the highest-risk demographic (boldface added by author for emphasis)…

While the figures might seem insignificant compared with those from neighboring countries that recorded the highest suicide rates, the numbers have gone up from 1984 to 2005, especially among the Filipino youth, said Dr. Dinah Nadera, a psychiatrist and an associate professor of the University of the Philippines’ Open University who has been working on a suicide prevention strategy.

“This simply means that there is an increasing trend of suicide [especially] among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24,” Nadera said at last week’s media consultation on suicide prevention conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Manila.

Did the UP administration “kill” Tejada? Perhaps there was some much-needed room for compromise and a bit of effort to to consider appeals on a case-to-case basis. But we need to be careful in what we choose to think with regard to this issue. This is an election year, and politicians and attention brokers are always sniffing around for things to turn into the latest outrage fad around which “campaign platforms” can be spun.

“Right to education” depends

Why is a college education important in the Philippines? Because a high school education alone gets you nowhere. At least that is the thinking that prevails in Philippine society. To many Filipino parents, kids who do not acquire a college education are failures. Filipino kids are therefore under intense pressure to secure that university degree at all costs. Failure to do so is tantamount to a death sentence in Philippine society.


Perhaps this was what was in Tejada’s mind in the final moments of her life.

Was it the UP that put that extremist notion in Tejada’s head? Think again. As the old saying goes, point your finger at someone, and you will find the other three pointing back at you.

Law of supply-and-demand

Employers of clerical labour can demand university degrees from their applicants because they can. If even people with college degrees are making beelines to submit their CVs to employers offering clerical positions — bank tellers, filing clerks, customer service representatives, etc. — it means employers can choose applicants who offer them the best value. It’s called a buyer’s market. Employers (buyers of labour) are in that rather peachy position of being able to buy the labour market’s equivalent of Mercedes Benzs for a pittance.

Trying to control that deluge of credentialled talent into automatonesque jobs is like trying to prevent flash floods from ravaging Marikina by building a dike around the city. The only real sustainable solution to flash flooding is to plant forests big enough to absorb all the water being dumped by the hammering monsoon rains that hit the Philippines every year. As much as it is essential to life, water in excessive doses is toxic. Same principle applies to a talented labour force available in value-crushing abundance. You need to grow the forest of opportunity that will absorb this deluge of warm able bodies so that their value appreciates and is appreciated.

Leave-of-absence is not permanent and certainly not the end of the road.

Many students (including some friends of mine when I was a student) take leave-of-absence from UP when they fall into personal cirumstances that render them unable to meet the demands of the UP system. Such circumstances include health issues, family issues, and, yes, financial issues. One friend of mine took a year off to help set up the family business. That put him behind by 21 units to our batch but nevertheless came back, picked up from where he left off, met his future wife in his new batch, and graduated with honours.

Think then whether a policy requiring students who are unable to pay their tuition to take a leave-of-absence is really that unreasonable. Should this policy be repealed in the aftermath of Tejada’s suicide? In this case, the answer to that question may not be as obvious as some people make it out to be.

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It’s really an exercise of telling people to suck eggs when we emphasize how complex an issue suicide is. And so being complex we shouldn’t really be quick to jump into one conclusion bandwagon or another in our desperation to make sense of the senseles.

144 Replies to “Senseless suicide: Did the University of the Philippines kill Kristel Tejada?”

  1. I agree. I have gotten out from school because I have no money only to return after I have the money. Temporary setbacks should not be considered permanent derailment of your ambition to uplift yourself from the doldrums of ignorance. But that is me not Kristel. However, UP should provide you with a totally different experience. It is supported by tax money but only the rich monopolized the student quota of the school. The concept of socialized tuition and financial assistance program, (STFAP) was conceived to address that disparity and level the playing field. It is similar to “affirmative action” in the U.S. where minorities were given extra points in matters of university admission, so they can avail of college education. In the case of this local program, (STFAP),it was designed to help the poor majority get college education and drive the rich to other pricey universities. If UP veers away from that this noble ideals, it deserve censure from the public for the death of Ms. Tejada.

    1. The girl is already an STFAP beneficiary. Alas she fell under the 70% discount bracket, not the 100% income bracket. Thing is she’s one of 5 kids… so the discount isn’t enough.

      I posed a question in my FB page on whether UP is

      a.) A university for poor students
      b.) A university for academically excellent students or
      c.) A university for poor but academically excellent students

      I believe that being an academically excellent institution is at odds with being an institution that is accessible to the poor, and the latter is addressed by other state universities (TUP, PUP, EARIST are some examples of national state universities that are more affordable, not to mention the likes of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, University of Makati, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay, etc…).

      It would be, on the other hand, logistically impossible to render UP accessible to the poor without sacrificing several standards — quality of facilities, salaries of faculty, and stringent academic standards to entry to name a few. But a lot of people believe that UP should do this simply because it’s funded by “taxpayer’s money”.

      Therein lies the rub.

      1. As far as I can recall, the UP is all about your item (b). There you go. Textbook resource management puzzle. Anyone who promises “cheaper, faster better” is a con man in my book. But it seems this is what we are expecting the UP system to deliver.

        Life’s not fair. Folk with more resources have access to more and better learning tools. They also use these resources to attract and mate with fitter, prettier, and more intelligent individuals. And the cycle continues…

        Thus achievement is bred and propagated in a positive feedback loop that sees them increasingly monopolising the same resources and opportunity that they acquire and plow back into their next generation offspring and their mating tools.

        An institution that sets an above-average standard of excellence and achievement will therefore likely a attract a disproportionate number of resource-rich people.

        1. I read up on the UP charter. It can be found here:

          Bullet point number one states:

          Lead in setting academic standards and initiating innovations in teaching, research, and faculty development in philosophy, the arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, and technology; and maintain centers of excellence in these disciplines and professions.

          So item (b) is spot on.

      2. in statement the “other universities” for me this is one of the reason…there are too many universities and colleges around the philippines some are legitimate like UP and others and some are built because of the famous politicians….training center also added for free to a group of people….indeed there are budget for educational but there too many to feed universities and college that produce communist/leftist, college that doesnt produce quality student. hence UP suppose to be budget was cut down to support other government institution….why not shut down those schools that do not met the standard and divert the budget to the UP manila and other UP annex schools around the philippines….my 2 cents

        1. damn so sorry i dont know how to edit….

          in your statement, the word “other universities”, for me this is one of the reason……there are too many universities and colleges around the philippines some are legitimate like UP and some are built because of the famous politicians…….training center also added to the problem using the our tax for free to a group of people…….indeed there are aloocated budget for education system but there are too many to feed like those universities and colleges that produces communist/leftist, colleges that doesnt produce quality student. Hence UP allocated budget was cut down to support other government institution………why not shut down those schools that do not met the standard and divert the budget to the UP manila and other UP annex schools around the philippines….my 2 cents

  2. “16-year-old and already a college student” – I actually find nothing wrong with this. Of course, a few years ago, I was also a 16-year-old in college.

    1. A lot of Filipinos do. And that is a problem best explained by my Philosophy professor: that 16 year olds are too young to take up college, not because they are not intelligent enough to study and learn, but because they are not mature enough to appreciate the nuances of intellect and deep thought.

      Add to that the pressure to “get a job quickly to lighten the family’s burden” and you get a perfect storm of kids scampering to enter the rat race with no hope for a truly meaningful life.

      1. I see. I do agree with your Phlo Professor, at least in my case, all I was wanted was good grades, I did not appreciate the knowledge and skills I’ve gained until I started with my thesis years later.

      2. Intellectual growth during adolescence perhaps has the same effect on the adolescent mind as those sudden surges in hormones that occur in those years. They all happen not necessarily at the same pace as emotional growth — which is why these years are called the awkward years. They grow/develop the equipment but often lack the emotional chops to deal with them properly.

        1. an excellent point. Kristel did not have the emotional capacity to handle the responsibilties thrust upon her. To blame UP is just absurd as what was truly in her mind at the last moment is not going to be known.
          A bigger point to consider is the youngsters parents and the pressure this kid was put under. It is just outrageous as it is sad.
          The society in the PR is backwards as it gets from a western view, normal to a native, and hugely un-fair/un-realistic (“Go be an ofw, and send us the money, fast!”) to the child who is set upon in almost parasitic fashion to burden themselves with the supporting of people who maybe should have thought about being able to provide for the child rather than think the child would one day be the answer to the families financial woes.
          It seems to be a national failing of the gov’ its citizens to not progress enough to facilitate the citizens growing economic concerns with jobs on the home-front rather than packing the best and brightest off to foreign lands where God-only-knows what awaits the aspiring and all-too-often abused OFW.
          I know what the problems are , but how to fix them requires a national plan of ACTION.

          This is a very good example of how FUCKED the country is. A disaster area in every sense of the word. Sadly, it is likely going to get worse, if that is actually possible.

        2. Wow, what a fuck up point of view. Distributive fault, and “eggshell plaintiff” those two concepts you must understand.

          If you are at fault, you do not excuse this because the other is also at fault. This is the concept of distributive fault, in law it is called conributory fault/negligence.

          Eggshell plaintiff, you take plaintiff as you find her. That normal people would not commit suicide if subjected to the same situation as Kristel is not an excuse.

          If you trip a hemophilic person causing a small small injury that caused hemmorrhagic death, you will still be found liable for her death.

          If you did not act posthaste on her STFAP request for reevaluation instead you asked her to file a leave of absence and refused to grant her loan which caused her depression then suicide, there is a viable claim for negligence there resulting to her committing suicide….

          Please don’t give us that crap that UP was not responsible.

        3. @jcc: Wait a minute. You trip a hemophiliac (not knowing said person had that condition), he bleeds to death from a scratch sustained from a fall, and you can go to jail for manslaughter for that? Jeez. It’s no wonder kids don’t play in the streets and with one another like NORMAL kids used to anymore and we are raising an entire generation of wuses.

          So if you have a policy of not allowing people who have outstanding debt in your learning institution re-enroll for the current term, are you responsible for that person’s resulting depression?

          There’s something wrong with all that, dude.

          Trace the assumed causal linkage in that latter concept:

          Outstanding Debt => Restriction imposed on re-enrollment => Depression => Suicide

          The only coherently defined and clearly deterministic part of that stream is covered by the first two: Outstanding Debt => Restriction on re-enrolment. That is written in black-and-white in the UP system’s guidelines.

          The last three, however, implying that the restriction imposed on re-enrollment caused depression which supposedly caused said suicide is debatable at best.

          As a lot of experts emphasize, suicide is a complex thing. There are a lot of variables at work that contribute to it. So we cannot make any conclusions with much confidence as to which one or handful of factors actually “caused” the subsequent event. The notion that, therefore, that depression caused said suicide is debatable. That the patient suffered from depression is debatable. That the restriction imposed caused said depression is debatable.

          As you can see, the restriction on enrollment part is twice removed from the suicide and the notions that link it to said suicide are huge orders of debatability separated.

          As such the UP is orders of magnitude of debatability separated from culpability for Kristel’s death. You cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that the system’s policies caused her suicide.

        4. Did not the UP administration fussy-footed on her request to reapprise her application for STFAP, and refused her loan because of past due debts?

          Does the administrative convenience of following the protocol on past due debts trumps the overriding social justice doctrine behind the STFAP, for access to education?

          Did not the school authorities see the simple solution of extending her additional loans then write it off by approving her request for reappraisal? If this was workable solution under the premises, did not the school authorities in failing to explore this area actually came short in addrressing the problem that lead to her suicide?

          Benigno, these are fertile areas of laws that can work either way depending on what side you are on.

          But I am willing to test the legal waters and sue the school for her death.

        5. By all means, test the law. But the fact is, one does not need to be a lawyer to see how far logically removed Kristel’s suicide is in terms of causality with the nature of the UP’s policy with regard to penalties/sanctions related to non-payment of tuition fees.

          That point alone can prop up an entire defense of UP’s position on the matter.

        6. If only you were watching the news about Pascual’s directive to streamline the STFAP application and doing away with the bracketing,and approval time in two months instead of six months, which are clear admissions that there were shortcomings on the part of the school in implementing the program…

          Cause and effect too tenuous? Don’t you know that food companies in the U.S., are being sued by some people for causing obesity; illegal loggers for causing the flood?

          Is not the cause of obesity your unctrolled habit of eating too much and the floods by nature’s pouring torrential rains independent of man’s action on earth?

        7. More likely, she’s accumulating stress in her life, like her father losing his job, lack of financial security, and the pressure of on her to contribute to the family, assumed or real. UP has been her place of solace, of comfort.

          When she gave up her university ID, she’s losing access to UP, and I think it finally made her snapped.

        8. This is actually a reply to jcc (& everyone who is blamign this & that pontiopilatos for kristel’s death) bottomline is………
          Sad & tragic as it may be, committing suicide is a very personal choice. Nobody can cause you to do it but yourself alone; more so that nobody desires it for another perosn, especially in this case. Whatever her reason, whatever drove her to the edge, the decision to take her own life is hers & hers alone.

      3. i agree w/ u….added pressure from parents who are putting high hopes on their children..”to lift them up from poverty”

    2. I was 15yrs old when my mother took me to UPLB as a freshman, a promdi at that, who has only been to Manila maybe 3 or 4 times prior to that. I basically “grew up” in the dorm. So I don’t see nothing wrong with that, either… but then again, maybe because our generations have been through more hardships that strengthened our characters – built our “tibay ng loob”, that enabled us to survive the harsh & demanding world of college life.

      1. were you part of the freshman sex auctions – now in the news.
        it doesnt sound like a serious university. certainly not in global 500.
        vocational training for ktv bars – have met a few up graduates there, and not very bright!

        1. What the heck are you talking about? And what does it have to do with me starting college at 15yrs old? Maybe in your wolrd it is impossible, but in my family it is expected! I came from a long line of scholars, albeit promdis.
          If you must know, I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, licensed to practice in the Philippines and has been practicing as a licensed Veterinarian here in the USA. Your comment is not only rude but also uneducated.

        2. sorry, i was uneducated at oxford..
          just curious about the moral terpitude and intellectual rigour of up, especially if they are taking child geniuses at 15.

        3. To LIBERTAS:

          You may have attended Oxford, but sadly for your alma mater, your language & logic is that of an unedicated person.

          I believe Oxford has its own share of child prodigies. I’m not even claiming to be one, it was just a fact of life that I went to school early – I started kindergarten at 3 yrs old (and in the Philippines during the 80s, if you are not aware, you can start school at 1 year old if you are able to sit thru your classes w/o your mom or nanny & w/o crying or peeing/pooping your pants). And I wasn’t the only 15yrs old college freshman in my batch – in the Veterinary Medicine program alone, there were 3 of us.

          All over the US, there are stories of kids who went to college early.
          Just to name a few for your benefit:

          Kiavash Garakani 12yrs old, accepted as freshman at UC Berkeley last year.

          Sho Yano went to college at 9 years old, received his MD degree at 21yrs old from University of Chicago.

          Nicole Tan – 12 yrs old freshman Biology Major at UC Davis.

          Physical age alone does not determine the intellectual capability & moral terpitude of a person. You also have to consider the environment they came from, their genetic make-up and their character that is developed beginning at home.

          I was reading the Reader’s Digest before I even started kindergarten at 3. I learnt how to cook a simple meal for myself & my siblings by age seven. Yes, looking back I wish I didn’t go to schoool so early as I wasn’t able to spend time playing as much as the other kids my age did. But it didn’t mean UP had a low standard because it was accepting younger aged students. The entrance exam is not meant to measure the students’ emotional/physical/moral maturity, it is meant to measure their intellect and ability to cope w/ the academic rigours.

          Admittedly, because of my young age when I started college, I was not socially adept. A testament to that is the face that I didn’t start dating until I was 32. And I would have to disappoint you on the KTV – I am severely tone-deaf and won’t be able to sing a decent song to save my life.

          To assume that I went to the whatever you call “KTV university” just because I was younger than most of the college freshman that you know of may have come from your ignorance or just plain bigotry.

        4. @indaysava

          Good luck on the dating scene.
          I wouldn’t date a vet – you do know where their hand has been!

          I also wouldn’t date a up girl – you know their pussy has had a ‘vets inspection’.

          Vets do it doggy style. Woof,woof.

          Peace and love

      2. i agree to this. being poor is not an excuse. lucky for u.p student that they have an option to file a loan for tuition but for us at a state university in central luzon,no such luck during my college years. and yet, my mother managed to keep me on college single handedly and with an income lower than hell.and there are ways to earn money while studying too- i worked at a fast food resto while studying to help out with the finances.i think it is all about parents making their kids tough to cope with the realities of life. kids today are living in an illusion and generally faint-hearted- pardon me for saying that. we are breeding a generation that is too soft and easily gives up on the trivial matters of life

    3. Finally someone mentions this…I had been thinking about that fact regarding Ms. Tejada. We have a preschool-age child who may already be accepted into a program requiring that she be 5 years old. She just turns 5 when school starts and so we are holding her back a year, just so she won’t be the youngest.

      More parents have been said to regret sending their children earlier than having held them back a year. I won’t go into a discussion about this here. The commenters have already said it. Yes people develop at different rates but seriously…when I heard she was 16 and nearing the end of freshman year, well…I really wondered.

      About her having 4 other siblings—wow, I didn’t know that fact. I agree-to press charges against UP officials is not fair, really. Suicide IS complex.

  3. I know someone that took him ten years to graduate engineering just because he lacked the money. He had to drive a pedicab to save up, and he also supports his family so it was really difficult. his school wasn’t even ateneo or those other expensive schools, it was a state university in davao del sur. i wondered then why there was no assistance for him, i just can’t understand it.

    1. I don’t think so.UP did what they can. They shouldn’t be blamed solely for what happened to her.UP is not a charity institution. It is indeed a state univeristy but not and never a charity institution. It is her decision to end her life and the university or the faculty did not ask her to do that. With the kind of parents she has, I think she is being pressured to finish college at all cost so that she can get her family out of poverty. A lot of responsible poor parents do everything just to give their kids the education they want them to have. These parents are the ones who doesn’t want their kids to experience the same fate as they do thus, they will do everything they can to help their kids fulfill their dreams. There are lots of scholarship grants that she can take advantage of if she was resourceful.Parents blaming the school for their misfortune is already a turn off. It means that they are the likes who put the blame on others when things go hard for them and do less to uplift themselves and their economic status. It is a pity.

    2. May I add, though perhaps a bit late, my two cents’ worth? We sympathize with her family because they lost a child, a daughter. But, as some readers pointed out here, blaming UP for the suicide is way off the mark. A lot of student do file LOAs for a lot of reasons and it should not result to a loss of life. It is the responsibility of the parents to look for the means to ensure their children get education. There are hundreds of families out there who do all they can to be able to pay their kids’ tuition fees (write a promissory note, borrow from a relative, etc.) that should not lead to a loss of life. I stopped for one semester when my parents could not afford sending 5 kids to college at the same time. My father talked to me and explained the situation. I understood. There are hundreds of other cases where we stop going to school because our families cannot afford it. What I’m saying is, blaming UP for a system that is supposed to apply to all similarly situated students is the easiest thing to do. Looking at the other causes of this tragic loss of life is the harder part.

  4. The only positive thing that came out from the unfortunate suicide of a 16 year old, UP student, was the realization: why does UP- a university funded by the blood and sweat of the Filipino people, opens @ accepts a good number of students from affluent family?

    Why not the government opens UP, solely to the deserving poor students who also come from public high school @ give them education with allowance, totally FREE??? There are too many deserving students from public high school who deserve to be in UP, but since it opens also to students from private and exclusive high schools, nabawasan ang mga mahihirap na kabataan na siyang dapat nakikinabang sa perang galing sa mamamayan.

    Kung tatanggap man ang UP ng anak ng mga may kaya, bakit hindi nila i charge ng tuition kapantay ng tuition ng 3big schools para maidagdag sa subsidy ng estudyanteng mahihirap at maging competitive ang pa sweldo ng mga teachers nila?

    Kaya lumilipat sa 3big schools mga prof sa UP e!
    KUng hindi competitive ang pa sweldo ng UP, sa palagay natin makaka attract ba ito ng mga de kalibreng mga guro? Kung hindi de kalibre ang mga guro ng UP, makakapag produce ka ba ng de kalibreng estudaynte?

    Result of board exams in different field say it all!

    1. While my immediate kneejerk reaction to your comment is to disagree, you did make a thoughtful compromise towards “kung tatanggap man ang UP ng anak ng mga may kaya…”. The salary of professors is one perfect point — I had a LOT of UP graduates (both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees) as full-time professors in DLSU, and the reason they’re there instead of in UP is obvious.

      I wonder how government types (and leftists) will react to that kind of suggestion.

    2. “solely to the deserving poor students”
      I have to disagree on this one. UP wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have representatives from all walks of life. I forgot what they call the system that give priority to certain regions/groups but I think that one helps maintain the diversity in each campus.

      “Kung tatanggap man ang UP ng anak ng mga may kaya…”
      When you got to this part, I agree with you. STFAP is there for a reason but the default bracket is too high and IMO, it’s incredibly troublesome and quite hard to prove that one belongs to the lower brackets.

      “KUng hindi competitive ang pa sweldo ng UP…”
      I also agree with this one. At some point, the joys of the teaching and the environment aren’t able to catch up with the need to provide for their families.

      1. “solely to the deserving poor students”

        This makes it an issue of class warfare and discrimination. Students won’t be accepted based on merit or academic achievement; they are judged based on economic status.

    3. Why is the sole focus on what culpability UP may have? Because you feel there aren’t enough free handouts to “poor” students? Why is the debate on whether UP should allow students from more financially capable backgrounds or deny them altogether simply because they were born into circumstances outside of their control? Just as students from impoverished circumstances never asked to be poor.

      Instead of dumping the burden on the universities, expecting them to pick up where deficiencies of primary and secondary education have left off, you’d have to re-engineer the entire educational system from kindergarten to ensure that ALL children have the requisite skills to handle the whole university experience.

  5. What was going on with this poor girl is anyones’ guess. Blaming anyone or anything other than the the poor girl herself is to try to escape responsibility.

    The truth is that , for whatever reason, the young lady sought a permanent solution to a temporary may sound harsh and I actually wish someone could have done something to prevent it, but that obviously did not happen. The guy who posted that life is not fair is goddamm right, it is not, and it will not ever be.

    btw, condolences to the family and,R.I.P..

  6. its true, suicide is not the answer to this problem….but the feelings of having nothing and so eager to take the exam is something that is so painful to bear for a student who is academically excellent. the pressure of getting a college education, of having her dreams of emancipating her family put to an end is so painful to handle. imagine for a sum of ten thousand pesos, the school could always hold her credentials…UP is operated by the taxpayers money…di to mauubos…at ang kawalan ng pambayad ng ay di pang matagalan…hahanap at hahanap yan ng pambayad to get her diploma…why not allow her to take her exams? masyadong malupit ang society natin sa mga wala and so linient to those who have plenty…panahon na para mabago ang sistema ng edukasyon, kasi kahit sa mga pribadong schools ganyan din ang policy nila…no payment , no exam! i’ll tell you eto ang pressure na pumapatay sa ating kabataan…you kill their persons and their dreams…money should never be the issue in pursuing one’s dream…ang laki-laki ng mga pork barrel ng ating lawmakers…take it and put them to our educational system..para we may have funds for students such as Krystel…mag-isip naman kayong mga nasa gobyerno!!!

    1. “money should never be the issue in pursuing one’s dreams.”

      Amen to this. I couldn’t take the course that I wanted because my parents said “It’s not gonna get me a paying job in the future.” I couldn’t complain, they only want what’s best for me and I’m thankful that they could even afford me an education when so many others couldn’t.

      But this is exactly what’s gotten the country stagnant, the same thinking that’s gotten so many kids going to nursing school. The system we have right now disallows children to aspire, dream, and dream big.
      Money.. It’s the number one thing that limits the generation. It limits their choices and their future.

      To the most unfortunate of the lot, it’ll be like: “Either take this course or starve.” They basically have NO choice.

    2. I tend to disagree on this one – I took up some units of law at a private school – and the administrators let me take my exams without paying my tuition – yun nga lng,nkahold yung credentials ko.
      I think it all boils down on how you cope up with the situation. hindi tamang sisihin ang eskuwelahan kung bakit naghihigpit sila pagdating sa tuition fee payment.
      Hindi din tamang sisihin ang U.P sa suicide ni Kristel – siya ang nagdecide na gawin yun. She might be pushed to the edge but in the end,it is still up to her to decide to kill herself.

  7. I agree with the points here and some points by the commenters but I do not agree on one major point.

    UP should not be exclusively for the poor. When you apply to UP, you are required to submit your family’s income bracket and I know it is also required to indicate how many appliances and what kind they are there. Whether rented or owned. This allows them to asses your family’s capabilities in paying for your tuition.

    From that bracket, there is a set amount of “dicsount” you will be entitled to. And also, there is random spot checking that sometimes happens with regards to where you live (as per address) and what you stated in your submission.

    So, UP does have brackets that define how much “subsidy” an individual/student is entitled to.

    Also, UP, as far as I know, requires that each of its colleges apply for their own tuition fee increase on a price per unit basis. I think it was 3 or 4 years ago that the Diploma course I stopped taking ended up increasing their price per unit.

    But still, it boggles me why suicide was the choice. I feel there really is more to it than just the tuition problem. Why? Well, as everyone said, you can file LOA and defer your studies to save up. You do not completely lose your right to study. And just like board exams, you can always try again at a later date, once you are ready/prepared to take on the challenge (in this case paying the tuition).

    Condolence to the family but I don’t think UP is to blame for this. They may have ended up being a contributor but I doubt they are the sole cause of it.

    1. A sensible comment indeed.

      “Well, as everyone said, you can file LOA and defer your studies to save up. You do not completely lose your right to study. And just like board exams, you can always try again at a later date, once you are ready/prepared to take on the challenge (in this case paying the tuition).”

      Could have been the option. Nevertheless, the case leads at least to UP being more “open” to its student in its policies than what it previously was. And to blame them, (but not to the extent that it is “sensationalized”) is something I find refreshing. An establishment(academic or otherwise) when being in the firing line of controversy,tends to be more “accommodating” for demands of reform. Whether the reform may end up positive or negative, we might not know fully. But to be “critical” of things is something I find positive. Not blaming(even in small degree) UP for this though is something I cannot agree. Causes to an event(in the real world) ain’t just one, it is at most cases made up of multiple factors.

      1. Sorry for the typos. To add one thing, the entire issue has also been put to perspective at different angles, yet this is the fact. Ms. Tejada is dead and that to be honest, to know the cause of her death would be best explained if we can find evidences (as explicit as possible) that would hint the motivation. One example would be “death note”. For now, I see no wrong in blaming the UP for being a contributory factor of her death. It is valid argument for now and even the UP Chancellors are admits openly for that being a factor. If the intent of the post is to criticize the “sensationalism” in the issue, that’s fine with me.

  8. Suicide after all is the person’s decision, so they have most of the blame for it. They decided to go the easy way, they went… and let others suffer in the end.

    And on the social aspect, perhaps she, or others who aren’t committing suicide, are the ones rushed through college so they could be milked by their dole-out seeking relatives? Is that the point of going through college? Get a high-paying job so everyone else can milk you?

    1. Going to college should be for you. But let’s face it, the level of poverty is just too damn high. Unless this milking culture stops, this will be the case for most of our youth. And in the future, they’ll have jobs, unsatisfied with their lives, output is mediocre, depressed and suicidal. Society will not have improved in the future. Sad

  9. And the Spinsbusters site seems to imply this:

    Was this tuition issue the real cause for the girl to commit suicide? Or was it something else?

    We need to ask this question. Even I doubted at first that tuition reason that most media outlets gave. And to think, Rappler is one of those that spread this angle.

      1. Spinbusters says it was still second-hand information. So the assumption that the motive was frustration over being made to stop studying from tuition non-payment is still questionable. So all this talk about the school may be leading elsewhere.

        1. of course, it was the cyanide that killed her. but what caused her to take that desperate measure?

          has anyone any concept of distributive fault? the only fault you can ascribe to Kristel was her being born poor, UP for not living up to the “social justice” doctrine behind the STFAP.

          If I am an unlicensed driver on the road colliding with another motorist who was drunk, does that excuse me for driving without a license?

        2. It was school paper people who claimed the tuition issue was the cause of suicide. But can we believe this? In fact, suicide is complex. This is just another sensationalized and oversimplified treatment of another problem. I myself don’t accept at face value that it’s the tuition issue.

  10. I went to UP, thinking I will fit in and somewhat get a degree from the most reverend university in the country. I thought it was easy and boy, I was utterly wrong. After 2 years of attending, I left and that leaving gave a peace of mind that troubled me during my stay. It is certainly not the money aspect but the culture and standards of UP – also similar to the Filipino mindset that a person like me can spend time, money and effort and just walk away like nothing happened.

    I think nobody knew how much pressure I was in to get good grades, impress UP profs, get some d cent job and appear like it was effortless.

    Before leaving the school, I was plagued by the decision whether to enroll for the next sem. I cried to people I barely know and to friends who could give me a sympathetic ear. I strived to find the best excuse to leave because people will say in an annoying tone of voice –sayang naman.

    I think I might have consider suicide if I stayed. Either that or I will be willing to form another identity.

    I don’t know much parallelism I could draw form that girl’s experience and mine’s but I like to believe that I understand her somewhat. But not necessary her final act.

    Isn’t so easy to just point at the chancellor and say ‘you have blood on your hands’? Have these people actually know how to run a school, much less a state-run school? As much sympathy as I can give for the girl, it’s way too much to be shortsighted in my opinion.

    Perhaps, both the girl and I were cowards in different ways of interpretation. But I’m not ashamed of my coward ness. At least, I it gave me a slap in reality – I could never belong in UP or otherwise.

  11. I have read this story last Saturday in PhilStar. And the first thing that came to my mind was this (okay, pls dont shoot me yet. I am thinking in western, European ways):

    How can a system or parents put so much pressure on a kid (16 year old) that she MUST support her mom, dad and 4 other brothers and sisters? Any kid or adoloscent must be free of any burden to choose a school and major to become successful as student and hopefully become a fine and good employer. Whether this pressure was “self-inflicted” or imposed, that doesnt matter. The pressure is there.

    UP may could have compromised in her case even more but that would have set a precedent for any future or current student. I guess Kristel was so desperate after hearing UP’s final statement that that became the final drop that made the bucket overflowing. I guess, that the burden was just too heavy to bear not being able to support (taking care of) her family put her over the edge.

    From a western point of view, it is not fair to put such a burden (support your own mom and dad) on a child!!! She/he should find a job for her own future, not for her family’s future.

    1. According to one article, her family was about to leave for the province since they could not afford the city life when she received her acceptance letter to UP. Your family sacrifices for you and you sacrifice for your family, it’s probably the Asian mindset. It is quite common for the eldest girl for example to study Nursing no matter what their interest is during the Nursing boom so that they can fund their siblings’ education. These days it’s Med Tech.

      1. @Lyn,

        This Asian or Philippine system of “sacrifice” will not contribute to anything good in the long run (again from a western point of view). The parents put those 5 kids on this planet. If that is a sacrifice then pls stop procreating. So bec you sacrificed, I also must sacrifice. Wow, thats really a beautiful world there. And oh boy, Kristel did sacrifice.

        Like I stated before you Philippines have a total different mind set than most Europeans. I really wouldnt want to feel that burden on my shoulders. And why is it always only the (oldest) daughter? What happened to the sons. It really must be heaven for sons in the Philippines. And daughters accept that fate/destination?

        1. @Robert Haighton

          It’s actually an eldest child thing. My father never graduated from high school, at 12, he was helping at the family store. He had three siblings to think about and things were tight at one point. He was as proud as any father when my uncle earned his Masters degree. None of us children needed to work for our education, as well, and he was really proud to have us all graduate.

        2. @Lyn,

          oldest child or only oldest daughter? I am sure there are exceptions but in the case of Kristel (and again looking at with western glasses) I think its ridiculous to put such a pressure on a kid/a child. I am sure nobody wants to be the first born daughter in any family.

          And even when the kids have to support their family then why not divide the burden among all the kids. Each offspring is partly responsible for the burden to take care of and to support the family. The pressure per person becomes lower in such situations.

        3. @Robert Haighton

          It really depends on the family but I know of some families who stagger responsibility. The parents put all their resources to get the eldest child to finish college. The eldest child helps the second eldest…and so on. The youngest child doesn’t get a break, they’re the ones who usually end up taking care of the parents in their old age.

        4. @Lyn,

          Okay thanks for the explanation. All I can say is that I dont like the system. It seems that procreation is only based and done to be taken care of when parents are old. Seems like a selfish decision to procreate and not focused on the individual future of the child itself. How can children excel with so much pressure? and what if the kids miss the IQ to graduate from a college, high school or even university? Not everyone is born with the right set of brains.

        5. @Robert Haighton

          I have no answer for you there. Choice is a luxury of someone who is rich enough to go their own way. Philippines is a country whose primary export is labor(both skilled and semiskilled). Children are often the only long term security people have. I can’t judge as I am very middle class.

        6. @Lyn,

          My apologies, I was just thinking out loud by raising those questions. Sometimes or more often we dont have clues and answers to questions (not biblically meant). Anyway, its a pity and shame Kristel committed suicide. It was really unnecessary. Probably, she thought that was the only out.

        7. Lyn,

          “Choice is a luxury of someone who is rich enough to go their own way.” =>

          I disagree with you on this one. Choices can be made even when we are the poorest of the poor. Tell yourself (as poor parent): “I dont want my kid(s) ever to experience the same as I did. I want my kid to thrive, to excel and be happy.” Let those kid(s) fly away free and let them pursuit their own destination without the burden to support the parents.

          It just needs introspection, retrospection and being balanced. It needs no money nor wealth to come to such enlightened conclusions and ideas. And one doesnt need to be a rocket scientist as well.

        8. Putting pressures on children is very wrong indeed. But in our cultural case, some children feel obliged to help out in anyway they can. Its the thinking here. I guess you could consider Kristel’s case as her thinking that she’s failed her family and so committed suicide. The mere fact that she thought that was the end of things is a measure of her maturity. The whole system should be in question then because obviously, a 16y.o’s thinking is not mature enough for a college environment.

        9. Josh,

          some things will remain unbelieveable and hard to understand (from a western point of view). I guess one has to live there for many years and decades to really get the full extent of it. Well for me the title of this Blog is spot on: “Senseless”. The suicide doesnt serve a purpose, for nobody. It probaly wont even change the way Kristel’s parents will think about the next in line to take care of them (the parents). So, its a lose-lose situation.

        10. An answer to the issue you are pointing out would be family planning and reproductive health and education. But that’s another issue. People don’t see the need for the bill to be passed, instead, blindly follow the Philippine church and their senile leaders.

          The thing about problems here is one perpetuates the other. And they’re all thanks to the typical Pinoy psyche.

        11. Josh,

          the bill is now a law but only delayed by 120 days most recently, right? I dont think a law is needed to change how people (must or will) think. The change must come from within the person. But like you already stated thats a complete other issue.

    2. from a western point of view? hell, your medicare/medicade, obamacare, food stamps, unemployment checks are highly evolved asian concept of “i am my brothers keeper.”

      1. But at least we dont fuck so that our kids have the burden and feel the burden to take care of their own mom & dad.

    3. I am a filipina, gre up in the Philippines & was educated in UP but I share your exact sentiments Mr Haighton.
      It is very disappointing to hear & watch the interviews of the parents where the empahsis is on the loss of their daughter who is their only hope for a better future.
      Why place such a hevy burden on your young daughter? Whose responsibility is it to provide a better future for the family – is it the parents’ or the childrens’? It is the parents’ responsibility, as long as they are still alive & able bodied (like Kristel’s parents are) – to work hard, exhaust all means to provide for their children’s need, give them hope & encouragement & strive to provide for their education so that they themselves will have a good future – not the other way around. I am not trying to blame the parents amidst their grief, I’m sure they have more than enough pain & regrets already, but what I feel whenever I see/hear/read their interviews is that the parents themselves contributed to their daughter’s demise in that they put too much pressure on her, and now they don’t want to take any responsibility for what happened to their daughter.

    4. @Robert Haighton: you’re right…though am Filipino but I’ve heard that perception oftentimes from parents here…(luckily my parents are not like that)..Parents would brag that they were able to lead a good life because of their all cost..(daughter has a rich foreigner husband, or her sons are in Middle East as construction worker/seamen)

  12. This is not a time for you nor your friends who have struggled while completing your respective degrees to flaunt to the world your achievements despite the situation. This is not the time for you to judge the weak. How self-righteous!

    This is a time for us to unite and ask ourselves, “Why is it a struggle for our children to claim their basic rights to education?” You simply don’t get the point. I hope that my taxes were not used to fund your education because you don’t deserve it.

    1. @comonsueno,

      during my time as a student, i deserved your tax money.. and there are lot of students equally deserving. some people do not get the philosophy behind STFAP. it germinated at the time of O.D. Corpuz, but was put in place after his time. during his reign as UP President, the program comes under Grants-In-Aid. Poor students have to apply for the grants by submitting income returns of their parents at Vinzons Hall. In UP Manila, I don’t know if they have a Vinzons Hall there.

    2. emotion is part of human psyche… sometimes it is better to listen with your heart and not with your ears and brain.

      UP is a private preserves of the rich and the conyo crowd. During my time, our classmates were scions of Senators/Congressmen, Businesspeople, Justices of CA/SC. Ony about 3 of us came without old-money and influence.

      1. How come you are so bitter about this whole stuff? Haven’t you moved on with your own struggles while in college? Rich people also deserve to attend good schools and universities such as UP. If they have the brains, why not? They want quality education so why rich and influential people are ridiculed for attending UP? That is why we have PUP, TUP and other state universities where poorer people can get good education without shelling out too much. They just choose the prestige of being a UP student.And the way you voice out your opinion is just too embarrassing.You don’t have to say nasty words just to get your point across.

        1. You missed the point. The reason UP is a rich enclave is not because there are plenty of smart people who are rich compared to poor people. As one commenter here said, the odds in UP were stacked against the poor even before their getting into its gates. STFAP seeks to address that “odds,” which the school authorities, in the case of Kristel had moribundly screwed up. I have no problem if you are rich and had attended UP. I am only arguing for fair allocation of resources which is tax-sourced, and not to be monopolized by the rich who could afford other pricey universities. I understand your discomfort over my language, because you were used to be addressed with deferring reverence perhaps on account of your status.

        2. And by the way, do you really believe that rich people in the country (except for a few) are really honorable and with impeccable integrity?

          Please read Alfred McCoy’s Anarchy of Families?

        3. @alexandriah;

          Just to give you a headstart on McCoy’s Anarchy of Families, here is the intro:

          “Recent decades have deepened a central Philippine paradox. How and why has this island nation, a veritable “lost Eden” rich in natural resources, become a very poor country with a very wealthy oligarchy?1 As revolutions, empires, and regimes have come and gone over the past two centuries, the Filipino oligarchy has survived from generation to generation, amassing ever greater wealth and power with every twist in this tangled national history. With each passing decade, the country’s juxtaposition of private wealth and public squalor seems somehow more pronounced, lending added significance to this entrenched elite as the key element in a relentless social stasis. Since the state has proven “ineffective” in its economic regulation, one analyst argues that “the actual path of growth emerged from the economic and political behaviour of the most powerful families, which had been accumulating capital for several generations.”*

          But before we sweep through the decades with anecdote and theory to explore the character of these elite families called “oligarchs,” let me offer a cautionary note about the study of the Philippines, particularly when probing a topic as intimate as family. The archipelago wears its Western face like a brightly painted fiesta mask that conceals much more than it reveals. Although the act of analysis forces us to summarize and characterize, we do so with the caveat that even the best of Western social science paradigms often capture but a fragment of this complex, elusive Southeast Asian society.”

          And you were right. The language in this blog is not for the faint-hearted. Go back to reading reader’s digest or Emily Post’s book on etiqutte.

    3. I don’t believe those who are sharing their struggles & triumph are being self-righteous. Their testaments are not there to condemn Kristel.
      I myself shared my own stories of struggles because there are still many who are & will be experiencing financial difficulties like kristel. Some may even be going through worse situations. I think there is a common desire for us who struggled & survived to encourage them & let them know that poverty is not a hindrance to reach your dreams – that it can be done, you just have to keep on going, even if the odds seem to be all against you.

    1. It’s just another well-written piece to appeal to emotions.

      I am all for the overhaul of STFAP (which, by the way, was nearing completion and was already for implementation next semester) and making UP accessible to all qualified students, but I hate that a suicide is romanticized (and irresponsibly reported by media by simplifying the cause and being specific with the method, for anyone to copy) and used as a fuel for outrage that is greatly disproportionate and misdirected at UP *alone*.

      All this protesting and voicing out and pakikibaka, good, sure, but maybe also put a little more critical thinking into it. All this statement are fallacious, regardless of how much effort you put on the photoshopped statement photo you shared in facebook:

      “Kristel would still be alive today if or “

      1. Wow, how callous… You do not know the situation on the ground. You are perched from an ivory tower, obviously.

        There was a proposal that UPCAT passing scores by applicants coming from the barrios be lowered compared to applicants coming from the cities. The reason behind was the test is a component of reading comprehension in english, current events and vocabulary, and of course with some spices on math and science. The proposal was shelved because the city dwellers were benefitting from undue advantage of having Televisions, radios and newspapers as against barrio dwellers who got their news from old newspapers wrapping their dried fish from the market.

        The STFAP was along the same concept. The poor are not being favored here. They were only trying to level the playing field, because as of now, UP is the preserves of the rich people who could afford well the cost of pricey universities, but instead had to compete unfairly with the limited quota of the University, that could have been availed of by the poor.

        What is so hard in extending Kristel a loan and then write if off by approving her application for full tuition fee discount? This is a simple pencil exercise. Kristel was dead because of red tape and because she has no influence whose voice can be listened to by people perched in ivory tower like you.

        1. And which tower are you residing?

          I was also just an iska opting to walk from bldg to bldg to save my Ikot money.

          I am very grateful for my education because for one, I learned not to simplify, romanticize and use as a political soapbox a tragic young death.

          UP is not completely blameless, but the cards have been stacked against the poor before even arriving at UP’s gates.

        2. Hi jcc,
          So if ever Kristel’s loan application was approved, and after sometime, another 1000 students from UP suddenly was financially deprived because of catastrophic events, would you approve all their loans as well?

          I understand your point, but I just want to see the effect if we try to follow your lead.

        3. you assumed that all these 1000 economically deprived applicants passed the UPCAT. If yes, are the quotas for 1000 seats in UP available?

          In the case of Kristel, she is within the quota, only that he could not pay the cost of the quota.

  13. Thank you for this article. I’ve been very bothered with the very sensational approach to how this tragedy was covered.

  14. Certain things cannot be helped. In her case, she is obviously an intellectual who was able to be accepted to her chosen college. How many of us losers can brag about this? Certainly not me. That fact alone already leads us to the conclusion that she is used to getting things her way if she sets her mind to it- but life is definitely unfair and things do not go your way regardless of how much effort you put into it. Failure is not an option for her. She has failed because some system is not perfect. That is not a good reason to end a life. That shows us her weakness, her inability to handle the setback. Everyone should quit using ‘her’ as an excuse.

    I always have this in mind, working with kids who are suicidal: Parents/caregivers should teach their children how to fail. Failure gives people the humility to withstand adversity, and to rise up from it with courage and respect for those who have done the same. Failure is not easy. IT is very unnerving, leaving you vulnerable, weak, and hopeless– but to overcome that goes far beyond any success in life. Face it, folks: UP did not kill Kristel.

  15. My take on the UP Manila issue, and yes, I might take flak for it:

    While a university of the Philippines may mean a university free from any tuition plus allowances, it must also espouse research, innovation and world-class quality. It must also represent and embody the latter. Something that UP badly needs funds for. How can you both serve these two masters at once?

    TOFI was initiated around 20…06-07 to the chagrin of most poor students to increase funding to the fledgling university because of warranted increased funding. I was one of those fellow isko that sat at the threshold, one of the last ones to enjoy the lower tuition fee.

    You may hate me for this but I was partially for TOFI but only under the condition that STFAP should be made more robust, versatile, and REALLY for deserving students. TOFI for me was like the MRT/LRT fee hike; UP is not the only state university as the MRT/LRT is not used as a mode of transport by the entire Philippines and that iskos should actually pay 80,000 per semester like MRT/LRT users should pay 60+ pesos per train ride without subsidy. UP is already getting the lion’s share of the state’s allotment for the state universities and for it to get more of the allotted budget is certainly unfair to other state universities.

    One might say that me paying taxes to the government is certainly as good as paying back my dues to the university. However, those taxes are not solely for the use of my university.

    Today, I realized most of my hopes never materialized. STFAP was still the flawed system as it was and TOFI jeopardized a lot of isko/iska’s future who wanted good education. And this, eventually happened.

    Still, I hope they create a better system in getting more deserving students. And I hope that there is an avenue for those like me who wanted to help our less-fortunate isko-iska. Also, let me not forget that there should be a bigger budget allotted for state universities.

  16. Nalulungkot ako dahil kailangan pa ni Kristel kitilin ang kanyang buhay dahil sa hindi siya pinayagang mag-enroll or makapatuloy ng kanyang pag-aaral dahil sa kakulangan sa pambayad ng kanyang tuition fee, kung sana mas may nagawa lang yung mga magulang niyang paraan para makapagproduce sila ng pera para ipambayad, sana may mga taong tumulong sa kanila ng nilapitan sila ng magulang ni kristel o lumapit sa kanila yung bata, sana kahit papano nilapit nila sa mga congressman or baranggay captain nila na pansamantalang pahiramin ng pambayad since alam nila na matalino si kristel o sana may mga kamag-anak na nagmamalasakit at nagpapahalaga sa edukasyon ng kanilang pamankin. hindi rin naman nating puedeng isisi sa UP administrator ang kakulangan ng mga magulang sa pag-aaral ng kanilang magulang, ang obligasyon ng paaralan ay mabigyan ng kalidad na edukasyon. Nakalulungkot isipin na nagpakamatay si Kristel sa maliit na problema wala ba siyang mga kaibigan na nagbigay ng moral sa kanya? wala ba siyang pamilya na nagpalakas ng loob niya? Nakakaawa at hindi nakapag-isip ng maayos si Kristel sa panahong mas kinailangan pairalin ang kanyang talino, kahit sabihin natin marami siyang problema magaan pa rin yon kumpara mo sa mga taong may taning na ang buhay ng gustong mabuhay pa ng matagal para makapiling nila ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Mahirap ang buhay pero mas mahirap kung hindi ka mag-iisip para malagpasan ang kahirapan na nakaharang sayo.

    1. Agree. Sayang na buhay. Isang napakabatang estudyante, na napakaraming pressure sa buhay at Gutom! ( as her father said on TV) ang baon nya sa lunch nya ay isang supot ng KENDI.) Makapag isip pa kaya siya ng matino? Bilang magulang. Siguraduhing ang responsibilad para mag payo, magpalakas ng emosyon at enough na pagkain sa hapag ay nagagampanan.

  17. …wake up philippines…you can debate all day long about the reasons why people commit suicide but more than likely this is a direct result of a young girl unable to see any way of doing what she felt had to do for herself and her family…..all filipino should feel a sense of shame at this…it is the very pointed end result of successive failures of filipino governments…governments elected by all of you

  18. no benigno, i am not suing the school for manslaughter. i am suing it for negligence and the quantum of evidence is predonderance, not beyond reasonable doubt.

  19. Her suicide may have been caused by depression due to her inability to pay the tuition, or not. I think a better issue to look at is the way UP is handling cases of students who are having a very difficult time paying their tuition. I know of foreign and international schools which do all they can to help their enrolled student continue her/his schooling while at the same time looking for financial assistance elsewhere. The school gives the student all possible options and even help in securing scholarship for the student. They don’t tell the student to leave and come back when he/she found the money to pay the them.

  20. I’ll reraise the question: are you it’s she committed suicide over the tuition issue? Just that? I myself wonder what treatment she got from her family. What if her parents said, “Don’t study anymore, just work so you can feed us!” Sound familiar?

    1. Couple that with something like, “Be our ATM! If you don’t, you’re a useless sack of shit,” or something like that, and you get a more likely catalyst for suicide. But I’m only speculating.

      1. It’s quite probable…filipino parents are quite capable of asking far worse things from their children then giving up studies to support them..

  21. According to the World Health Organisation the philippines has the highest incidence of depression in asia.

    The tragic death of a student should not focus solely on UP ( where i am sure there are lessons to be learnt, but who can hardly take the full blame, especially when people do not know of the individuals medical history, home life etc – people rarely commit suicide for a singular reason but a combination of factors), but on the wider cultural/societal issue of understanding, acceptance and treatment of depression.

    Western studies show that up to 20% (1 in 5 people) experience a depressive episode in their life.

    The stigma in society makes it a lonely disease and exacerbates the consequences, especially if parental pressure rather than support only magnifies feelings of shame, failure, worthlessness.

    Depression is generally misunderstood and always underfunded. It has a high cost of long term treatment with variable success rates so all governments/health departments try to shy away from education and treatment.

    Pressures in life create problems whether depression, suicide, drugs, addiction, anger, abuse.

    They will not go away or be resolved by changes in university fee amendments.

    People need to think deeper and learn how to mitigate such issues particularly as such incidents are not isolated and only likely to increase. A price of progress and the pressures which some cannot cope with.

    The people who should spot these things but invariably dont are the parents.

    1. Hindi ako sang-ayon sa WHO propaganda.

      Filipinos are the happiest people in the world. Many studies have even shown that the wealthiest countries have the most depressed people because they leave empty, meaningless and materialistic lives.

      Tama si JCC. UP should be SUED. And where was Jesus when she prayed for him for a miracle? No answer. SUE Jesus also. Why didn’t God use his love and power to prevent her from killing herself? God, the ALL GOOD and ALL Powerful being is also responsible. SUE GOD too.

      And while where suing UP. We should SUE the United States of America for establishing UP in the first place.

      1. getaloadofthisguy.jpg

        BTW, I know you just want to make fun sooooooo….

        “Well I was using old spoof nicks all the time. So old folks like you, benign0, Toro, etc knew all along what was up.

        I am still flabbergasted why so many Pinoys don’t appreciate satire and sarcasm. Sometimes you can make a point more devastatingly effective that way.

        Oh well, back to life. Until the next Philippine catastrophe. Have fun guys. The Philippines will remain a shit hole and there is only one solution: GET THE F*** OUT.


        Oh yeah, even Jesus Himself is INSULTED on what you are doing. If you try to counter your posts, then you admit that you are indeed… A FRAUD. 😛

  22. She could’ve taken the LOA than take her own life. Then again, she was halfway through the term. Haply, it is a difficult decision to make in her circumstance.

  23. this could be out of topic, but i think it’s ironic that some of these protesters asking for better budget in education from the government were also pushing the RH Bill (Note: proposed P7.7B budget). Nakakaloka lang. Furthermore, I believe that there really is more than meets the eye. Any emotionally healthy person would not consider suicide as a solution just bcause she had to take LOA. I might be wrong but perhaps, the university’s decision is not the only reason for her decision. So to put all the blame to the university, burn the chairs and tables, frolic inside the hospital ain’t impressive at all. Then again, i might be wrong

  24. “16-year-old and already a college student”-
    This really is not surprising. I managed to start college at 15 so I really think it’s nothing to be surprised of.

  25. ’16-year-old and already a college student’:
    This really is not surprising. I managed to start college at 15 so I really think it’s nothing to be surprised of.

  26. If she was poor, shouldn’t she be stronger when coming across hardships and challenges in life? And, based on the picture, she doesn’t really look poor. She might poor but she looks like a girl whose luxuries and whims were given to her by her family: an overly cared-for girl in a poor family, if you will.

  27. You know the most offensive form of paying respect to the dead?

    Using ONE of the causes of her death as your vanguard to advance your political agendas.

    By gods activists and leftists, please stop. Like many others said, suicide is a very complex issue that doesn’t only stem from one cause. Reimagine the scenario if Kristel committed suicide because she failed a subject. Would you rally your flags for her? What cause? Because the professor was harsh in grading, and strict grading should be abolised? I’m sure you wouldn’t be as compassionate as before then, right?

    There was a note on facebook that said it all. I’m not the author or acquainted with her, just definitely agreeing with her point of view. Here it is:

    She died already. No need to display her corpse on a pedestal and scream for justice. We are trivializing her cause of death on a scale that only benefits our cause. Let her rest in peace.

  28. Who is dishonoring Kristel, those who blamed her and her family for or blamed UP for her death?

    In previous posts I have introduced two concepts: “distributive fault, or contributory fault” and “eggshell plaintiff.

    Those who argue that Kristel because of family problem was suicidal diminishes UP’s own fault, but under the doctrine of “contributory negligence, UP was and still is liable for her death.

    Those who argue that UP was the chief cause of her death, downplay her “pre-existing suicidal condition.” But I go with the argument of one commenter here that removing her from classes by forced LOA and confiscating her ID were the triggers for her suicide.

    I argue further that Kristel would have been alive today had not UP officilas acted more like they were bank loan officers, rather than educators, the former to see that the bank makes profits, the latter to discharge a lofty duty of cultivating the minds and promoting the welfare of their students.

    Legally the issue is whether UP acted negligently in failing to extend her another loan so she could keep her classes or in approving her request for full tuition fee discount again so she can be in her classroom instead of outsife it.

    What is so hard in extending her another loan and then writing both loans off by approving her application for a full tuition fee discount? Is this workable under the premises? If it is, then the school had breached its duty of care that is due to evey STFAP applicant. The fact that UP President Pascual had announced after Kristel’s death that he had streamlined the STFAP by collapsing the brackets instead of four into just one, and that approval time for STFAP must be done in 2 months instead of 6 are clear admissions that the school had been screwing up the implementation of STFAP.

    Additionaly, what is so hard in figuring out how much does a taxi driver makes in a day, to support five children and stay-home mom? You don’t have to sit down for six months in your air-conditioned room to find out. But to argue that it was the fault of the parents to have 5 children they cannot support to school is streching the argument farther away as to whether the school had acted negligently in the application of Kristel for another loan and for a full tuition fee discount. This is issue at bar.

    Assuming that the forced LOA and the confiscation of her ID were not the chief triggers for her suicide, but only contributed to her suicide. Does that excuse UP from responsibility?

    “One exception to the eggshell skull rule is the plaintiff who harms himself. For instance, suppose a plaintiff gets very drunk one night and wanders into the road, where she is hit by a speeding driver. Because of the high amount of alcohol in her system has thinned her blood, the plaintiff bleeds much more quickly and suffers severe brain damage as a result of the accident.

    Although the driver was negligent by speeding, the plaintiff made herself more susceptible to damage by drinking. In this case, the defendant may not be liable for the entire extent of the plaintiff’s damages because the plaintiff had a hand in them. This exception is similar to the rules of contributory negligence and comparative negligence used in some courts.

    We have similar provisions in the Civil Code on human relations which say that persons must act in a way so as not to harm others.

    1. I argue for the full responsibility of UP for Kristel’s death, but if it has only contributed to it, still it is liable within the range of its own neglect and cannot wash its hand from a clear duty that it has breached.

  29. *agreeing with jcc and benigno’s statements. <> the rest was great, alot had shared their experiences, but some were out of the line. I hope this goes out to the people concerned. It doesn’t bring a good impression to the whole world. Quite alarming coz it’s recurring. Though there may be some who would understand, such as those who commented here, but that’s just a weebit of some people who have this patriotic intention to make a difference and wake the whole government. The rest are blindfolded. And the worst part is, that they’re pretending they don’t know it.

  30. UP bearing full responsibility? Based on their posts here, I think some folks are living in a utopian fantasy, not the creaking jalopy that is the Philippines. To talk about abstractions that exist only in Philo/law textbooks and hold the UP administration – nay the state culpable for an individual’s personal decision to commit suicide just shows how far people are willing to ignore reality to accommodate their respective world views. The UP administration and by extension, the state and the filipino taxpayer – does not have an obligation to make a UP education accessible to all. It is not the charter of UP to ensure no one should stop school because he or she does not have enough money. It is not the UP administration’s duty to assess the likelihood of suicide of individual students prior to implementing its policies – policies which said students had accepted as terms & conditions of their enrollment. The facts remain that: a) significant assistance was provided although this was insufficient to allow her to continue schooling; b) Kristel could have returned – going on LOA was a temporary problem and is not uncommon in UP or other institutions; c) and most plainly, UP did not pull a trigger or provide the rope or plunge a dagger – it acted well within the bounds of its rights in implementing policy…yes, like a good bank officer…which is intrinsically no less noble a profession than an educator. Good bank officers who follow the rules are critical to ensuring there is sufficient capital for businesses to hire jobs, families to buy homes, people to build lives – but I digress. UP was unemotional or unsympathetic – kulang sa malasakit, maybe… – but cruel and murderous and culpable and fully responsible?… Please… Let’s not confuse the tragedy of suicide with having to justify some rationale behind it, esp. one which dovetails nicely with the vested interests of a very vocal and visible minority.

    1. Nobody is accusing UP for murdering Kristel. I am accusing it for neglect that triggers her suicide. One is criminal which requires criminal intent, the latter for failing to exercise a clear duty owed to her.

      1. What does full responsibility then mean? even hired assassins or soldiers who commit war crimes dont shoulder full responsibility for the deaths of the people they kill when it is shown that their own range of choices were limited. With all due respect, what neglect? What clear duty? School administrators are that – administrators… Not social workers, or psychologists, or PCSO, or mother teresa. They have neither the skills nor the mandate to ensure kids dont kill themselves. While it sounds good, the Lofty duty of cultivating young minds is a euphemism and does not translate into any measurable, manageable job spec/metric.It is that….lofty. And while you may not have explicitly called it murder, there is no shortage of opinions and statements to that effect – the usual suspects spewing the usual vitriolic anti establishment propaganda, and there seem to be few people who want to call these people out for fear of being railroaded and mowed down by public sentiment.

        1. And just to add good school administrators do tend to be more like good bank officers than priests, confessors or social workers/case officers. The dilemma facing them is that their posts are political positions, and many of us are under the delusion that we are entitled to the trappings and entitlements of a welfare state like the united states or the scandinavian countries when we have nowhere near their resources or supporting processes or infrastructure or culture of administrative efficiency.

        2. hehehe…. just sleep over the idea of how come people are suing tobacco companies for causing lung cancer and emphysema.

          if you can’t figure out the reason why, you will never figure out the duty of the school towards their students.

        3. Darn, oh yeah the civil code, we have such a wonderful legal system that we can hold it as an infallible paragon of logic and clarity. 🙂 First, is it crystal clear exactly which specific duties is UP alleged to have so callously neglected? One could say…”Lofty duty…etc. etc.” The words “lofty” and “duty” do appear together quite often in open-ended non-binding policy/mission statements, flatulent election speeches and valedictions, the rantings of demagogues but nowhere in even a half-baked, half-reasonable job description, performance appraisal, procedural document, or best practice specification. While we’re dodging the kitchen sink, let’s just all pause for 5 seconds.… and examine whether equating the actions of UP administrators with those of tobacco companies which actively promote a harmful product as a consumer good at the same time misrepresenting its related risks, or a hypothetical speeding motorist who was already breaking the law before running over a pedestrian isn’t a bit disingenuous requiring a rather tenuously extended suspension of disbelief as well as a significant stretch of our collective imaginations. I just read a statement which I earlier missed saying – I deserved taxpayers’ money or something to that effect… That is just uhmmm…fantastic. sense of entitlement much? Even an Oblation scholar does not deserve taxpayers’ money… it is a privilege granted to said person which can be revoked should the party concerned be unable to uphold the terms and conditions of such granting… yes? You acknowledge yourself that suing UP would be a “test” of the legalities on this matter. Good luck with that 🙂 But don’t you all think it’s more constructive to help put in coping and support mechanisms while recognizing the severe resource constraints by the UP administration than trying to pin a non-existent tail on an imaginary donkey. The name of this blog is GETREALphilippines, is it not? 🙂

        4. “Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all people, of the adaptation by the government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of the component elements of society through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelation of the members of the community.” Justice Jose P. Laurel

          Art. II, Sec 17, State Declaration of Policies of the 1987 Constitution provides:

          “The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.”

          The same constitution provides in Art. XIV, Sec. 2 par. 3:

          “Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidies, and other incentives which shall be available to deserving students in both public and private schools, especially to the under-privileged.”

          In 1989, pursuant to such state declaration, STFAP was implemented in UP, to give bright, deserving but under-privileged students access to education.

          This is a positive duty of UP as decreed by the Constitution and STFAP as a program to implement that declared State policy.

          The duty having been established, the next issue is whether that policy was implemented with due care as not to injure anyone.

          In 1989, based on what I have gathered from the TV interview of UP President Pascual, STFAP have four brackets. He collapsed this brackets into just one after the death of Kristel. And he decreed also that from this time on, applications for “tuition fee discount” be processed in 2 mos. Instead of 6 mos.

          I assumed that the four brackets represent 25% discount, 50% discount, 75% discount and 100% tuition discount depending on the income of the applicants or their parents.

          From 1989 until the death of Kristel, the same bracketing was maintained. It gives you the idea that applicant with income qualified for 25% discount in 1989, would still be qualified for 25% discount in 2012. It appears now that STFAP did not take into account the cost of living standard in 2012 and thus maintained the same bracketing in 1989. That if such is factored into the program, the lowest bracketed applicant in 1989 would now be qualified under the fourth bracket which is 100% tuition fee discount. In hindisight, President Pascual do away with the bracketing after this tragic incident as a recognition perhaps that their pro-rated tuition fee discount in 1989, was no longer relevant in 2012.

          The Civil Code provides:

          Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
          Did UP in performance of its duty act with justice, give Kristel her due, and in good faith?

          Were there shortcomings on the part of UP in implementing STFAP that seek to give meaning to that State policy for equal access to opportunities and education?

          Is UP not supposed to establish guideline that is reasonable and convenient to promote that lofty State policy instead of throwing a monkey-wrench on it? This is a rhetorical question.

          Also, how can UP ignore the fact that a semester consists of 4 months only. If an applicant who already passed the UPCAT and has applied for June slot, yet he has to wait up to November, during the second semester before he gets his application approved for the first semester.

          Now Pascual see the injustice in the implentation of STFAP by collapsing the brackets and short-leashing the approval time to 2 months.

          Your honor, I rest my case.

  31. Darn, all you have to to is read the provisions of the civil code. Tort/negligence is a specific cause of action of one who was injured on account of neglect of another… Since Kristel is dead, her survivors, the parents can bring a tort action against the school.

    Mother Teresa has no duty toward humankind. Her doing it was on her on volition. No public money was spent on her ministry. Money was donated by various groups including drug dealers.

    But if Mother Teresa found helpless people and put them under her care then abandoned them such that they were worse off than she had originally found them, she incurs liability for the degradation of their condition.

    School officials have that positive duty towards their students for the development of their intellect and well-being. Their failure to perform that duty which result to injury is an actionable tort.

  32. We can all fantasize otherwise but nobody – not the government, not the rest of society, and certainly not the UP administration, – OWES any of us anything, including a highly subsidized UP education – by the simple virtue of us just being born and passing an entrance exam… Civil code or not. Owed… haiz…

    It is all well and good for them to give and grant but it is certainly not OWED. Public money = public interest, and it has been deemed in the public interest to make UP education more accessible to poorer households via significant subsidies – which has been done – but that is a far cry from guaranteeing free tertiary UP education, which would concentrate even more public resources into an institution which has already received a shockingly disproportionately outsized share of government money on a per capita basis compared to other educational institutions.

  33. Ditto goes for the oh-so-very specifically worded and detailed “positive duty for the development of their intellect and their well-being…” Aside from the gaps in causality already pointed out by Benigno, how does “positive duty…etc.” exactly translate to “must give free education to all poor UPCAT passers.” Who is going to argue that STFAP has not provided greater accessibility? As an alternative course of action, aside from the arduous and flawed means testing of the current system, can UP improve the status quo by mandating an even more arduous, even more flaky and expensive psych test to identify at risk individuals who would have an adverse reaction to LOAs or a myriad range of conditions which may result from financial distress – hemophiliacs- in your analogy – to what “normal” persons would accept albeit with some difficulty.

    While the passion for argumentation, idealism, and righteous indignation might be laudable, it is misplaced. (although the sense of entitlement is decidedly not), we’re clutching at straws here and being very “creative” in terms of how we define the constructs of duty and neglect. This culture of “creative” tort litigation – a field which is so prestigious and valued precisely because it is so noble and altruistic 😉 – while beneficial for lawyers, is what makes malpractice insurance and by extension health care, health insurance so expensive in the US, ironically effectively robbing the poor of affordable coverage to pay rich lawyers and underwriters. Again, I digress. When we look at this case, it may be instructive not just to hypothesize at the myriad range of options that may have helped Kristel change her decision – counseling, better formal/informal support systems, lowering expectations, closer engagement with alternative sources of funding, and yes improved processes within UP – but also to understand the implications of said measures on the rest of the stakeholders of the education system – other than the relatively small group of UP students and their immediate families.

    To reiterate, UP administration officials may have been unsympathetic, kulang sa malasakit, hindi makatao, hindi mabait, hindi makonsensiya, hindi maka-Diyos… all judgment statements (which remain eminently contestable)… but are they FULLY RESPONSIBLE for another person’s personal decision to end one’s own life? Trying to pin the blame on UP and the state is ultimately flawed due to hugely unrealistic expectations concerning the proper role and current ability of the state to provide a given quality and quantity of a public good – education – esp. when it involves further concentrating resources in an infinitesimally small segment of Phil. society, the few tens of thousands of the UP cohort amidst a sea of indigent millions.

    1. While the passion for argumentation, idealism, and righteous indignation might be laudable, (although the sense of entitlement is decidedly not) this passion is misplaced. 🙂

      1. The school is in “loco parentis” in the care of their students. This is a principle in civil law that holds that school is situated the same way as the parents of the students and thus it is expected to observe all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage or injury to their wards. This is this is the same principle that allows the school to impose even corporal punishment to its students..

        Being in “loco parentis” was UP acting with due diligence when it forced Kristel to take a leave of absence and confiscating her ID, thus even preventing her access to library facilities instead of exploring its resources so its ward can avail of the benefit of such resources that is due her under the circumstances?

        Does not extending her additional loan and writing them off later by approving her request for a full tuition discount were more ‘faherly’ acts than totally shutting her off from the door of educational opportunities?

        Again, this is a rhetorical question!

        1. Your honor, I guess the kitchen sink wasn’t enough? We’re throwing in the bathtub and the refrigerator in as well? 🙂 As a purely academic thought exercise aka just thinking aloud, this might be acceptable – but as a discussion of real events, and available actions with real-world responsibilities and resource constraints and real-world consequences, we are really DEEP in the twilight zone with this latest bombshell. College administrators are acting in the place of parents? in UP of all places? – these are very very very very very very rose-colored glasses we’re seeing the world through.

          Since you mentioned that you deserved some other poster’s taxpayer money while you were studying, I assume that you hail from UP or some other state university – and anyone who’s ever heard the gobbledygook from SAMASA or the tirades from the CEGP during student election season knows that many students – including those who are screaming the loudest for more subsidies certainly do not regard the UP administration as their parents… unless this relationship involves a very dysfunctional family.

          It is worth noting in the very source you cite says… “Though in loco parentis continues to apply to primary and secondary education in the U.S., application of the concept has LARGELY DISAPPEARED IN HIGHER EDUCATION.”

          As a brief interlude to this ahem… exchange of opinions and divergent views of the world, and this is maybe me just being impertinent and wishing to inject a bit of lightheartedness – I distinctly remember almost two decades ago, my Philo I teacher throwing a piece of chalk at my blockmate for doodling on her notebook in the midst of a lecture – and it hit her right smack in the middle of her head, I swear – like it was laser-guided. 🙂 My blockmate was not being disruptive, nor did she fail to answer a question posed to her. The professor, a full professor and HoD if I remember correctly, was simply pissed off at the impudence of this student to blithely ignore his rambling exposition. He was certainly not being fatherly at the time and might have severely traumatized my classmate to the point of rendering her incapable of passing Philo I – and by consequence, dropping out of school and denied the sacred and inalienable right to education, I guess there should have been someone noble and heroic enough to right that terrible indignity at that time and sue my Philo teacher’s socks off for unfatherly conduct…when he was acting in loco parentis. but alas, our block then – freshies eons ago, which now includes 7 lawyers from UP Law, 3 law professors at local and overseas institutions – well associate and assistant professors – also equally blithely went about our business to head off to our next class despite that travesty of the doctrine of social justice and in loco parentis!

          Why stop at Jose P. Laurel, why not cite Pope John Paul II’s or Horacio dela Costa’s views on social justice, which probably even go further to draw its source from divine not just human inspiration? Or any number of US presidents or UN Secretary Generals. Am sure every Philippine President has probably written or said something on the subject – esp. around election time. I’m sure even Erap or his speechwriters have something beautiful to say about social justice. A lot of beautifully vague este broadly comforting words and lofty ideas…lofty like the clouds, yes? We all know how great that has worked out for us. This is being impertinent, but I’ll share the name of a rare politician who didn’t just avoid using the term “social justice”, but appeared to have absolute disdain for the concept – Lee Kuan Yew – the ultimate realist/pragmatist of a statesman who didn’t use the word lofty too often either. He actually used the Internal Security Act to jail without charge, some of its advocates for decades despite widespread criticism from the rest of the world. And while he’s definitely not a saint, and has his own problems and detractors, compared to ours, he and his government and his civil service and his educational system didn’t do too badly I guess, notwithstanding his aversion to this almost universally promoted central tenet of good governance 🙂 anyways…

          Back to regular programming,
          On the subject of the constitution,

          a)doesn’t the dep. of education already receive the highest allocation amongst all departments? Doesn’t UP already receive more funding than any other single public educational institution on a per capita basis?

          b)isn’t such a system of grants, etc. established? Wasn’t receiving a 70% discount proof of this?

          c) I do not have it scribbled at the back of my palm but I do recall reading in old dusty decrepit tomes for prep for moot court in high school extracurricular shit ages and ages ago, the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, which draws consequence from concurrence or coincidence – essentially causality from timing – after this, so because of this – which I think might apply to the reasoning that UP admin changed the rules because of the tragic incident and was an acknowledgement that previous policy was gravely erroneous. Could it be possible that this change in policy could be attributed to other factors – e.g. additional sources of funding, results of ongoing reviews recently completed, successful cost-reduction in other areas, budget surpluses?

          All rhetorical questions, yes? 🙂

          Like Benigno mentioned – it doesn’t take a lawyer to show how far removed one event is from the other… and just looking at this from just a big-picture view – if I may indulge to paraphrase myself… The Philippines is probably an example – and this case pointedly shows it – where some people expect the trappings, entitlements, (and possibly, the laws – and lofty – that word again – expectations) of a welfare state without the resources, processes, infrastructure, administrative capabilities, and detailed / realistic implementing guidelines of one…

          Honestly, your honor, I’m really still smarting over your statement to a poster named comonsueno… “DURING MY TIME AS A STUDENT, I DESERVE YOUR TAX MONEY…” While this is consistent with wanting to stretch our laws and the very definitions of the words neglect and duty to blame the UP admin for negligence, the even bigger story here is that we are in for a frightful roller coaster ride if every Filipino student in a public educational institution shares this sense of patently false entitlement.

        2. You argue with generalities. I am arguing from specific provisions of the constitution and the logic behind Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program of UP.

          In the U.S., the “in loco parentis” was a common law principle, in RP it is embodied in the civil code. Meaning you go by the code, not by case law on the matter.

          That it was not applied in higher education in the U.S., pertains only on the right of the school to “impose disciplinary action on their students” not on its obligation to treat their students with the highest and optimum care.

          Here, there was a duty imposed on the school not only by the principle of “in loco parentis” as further enunciated by the pertinent provisions of the civil code, but by the constitution itself. Benigno, just like you, were arguing the case of Kristel from layman’s point of view. No one should begrudge you for that. But Benigno’s articulation on the present issue, came short of legal elegance worth seeing in print in legal journal.

  34. Eventually this “im a lawyer card and thats the end of it” card would be played. Wasnt some doubt just cast on whether those specific constitutional provisions had been violated? If we automatically assumed that argumentation using stretched definitions of even innumerable specific citations of equivocal statements that could be interpreted any number of ways is necessarily superior to what is apparent and plain to laymen, then that is clearly a sign that there are too many lawyers in this world spoiling for some action. The welfare state and the attendant fixtures which tries to make many private responsibilities public is an artifice and cannot exist in reality for a 3rd world country which does not have the resources to perform true public responsibilities adequately such as policing its own borders. The taxpayer owed you nothing. You are responsible for your actions. I, for mine. Kristel for hers. That is as plain as it can get, and we know it in our gut. The simplest explanations can often be the best.

    1. Your argument is stretched, mine is anchored on the provisions of statutes, the constitution and well-settled principles in law. If you argue beyond your pay grade, please be humble enough to admit, that despite your perspicacity, you can screw things up.

      1. Awww… Arguing beyond my pay grade. I am utterly crestfallen at the brilliance of this rebuttal. 🙁 🙁 🙁 Sigh, a pity for this back and forth to have ended in such an ugly and worse boring manner.. Oh well, let the statements and the reasoning stand as they do. When we start talking about pay grades, I indeed have to just eat humble pie and be content to just agree to disagree. 🙂 best of luck to you jcc on this great quest to prove negligence when up administrators should have acted like a good father but instead ended up acting like well…administrators. Very humbly yours.

  35. Though it obviously doesn’t have any relevance to the validity of an argument, I also wouldn’t be so trigger-happy to make hasty assumptions about relative pay grades given the tax rates in the US. The business of suing other people might not be so fantastic these days given the flight from litigation to fields like compliance, AML, conveyancing, etc. 🙂 Perhaps more relevant and critical, many of the most important and common forms of argumentation fall outside the courtroom and the statutes of law / the constitution – salesmen making a pitch to a customer, professors making their case to students, peers selling their ideas to their peers in their respective fields, candidates asking for their constituents’ votes, we can go on and on…so to predicate the validity and strength of one’s arguments on the mere citation and creative reinterpretation of statutes is…well…not quite sound. But I agreed to disagree, and that’s that. 🙂

  36. Your are good at writing, I think you could write some other things to make your blog more complete. For example: chi straightening irons andghd hair straighteners,

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