For lovers and hopeless romantics, February is the month of hearts. Consequently, it is only apt to write about matters of the heart for this month. Of course, it must have some legal twist to make it even more relevant.
Back in my law school days, I had the chance to read a case decided by the Supreme Court, which I find very relevant both legally and for the month of hearts.
By this case, I am referring to Evelyn Chua-Qua vs. Hon. Jacobo C. Clave, in his capacity as Presidential Executive Assistant, and Tay Tung High School, Inc. [G.R. No. 49549, August 30, 1990].
Penned by Justice Regalado, the case involves a teacher at Tay Tung High School, Inc. in Bacolod City by the name of Evelyn Chua.
Evelyn and her sixth grade student at Tay Tung named Bobby Qua fell in love with each other and soon after got married.
By the time they got married, Evelyn was already aged thirty, while Bobby was only sixteen.
Evidently unhappy with what had taken place, Tai Tung subsequently terminated the employment of Evelyn essentially on the ground of immorality.
When the case was elevated to the Supreme Court for its review and resolution, it sided with Evelyn and ruled that her employment was terminated illegally.
In arriving at this ruling, it reasoned out in essence that since there was no substantial evidence to prove that immoral acts were indeed committed, it follows that the supposed violation on the part of Evelyn of the Code of Ethics governing teachers would have no basis.
It pointed out that Tai Tung completely failed to show that Evelyn took advantage of her position as teacher to court her student Bobby.
It added that if Evelyn and Bobby “eventually fell in love, despite the disparity in their ages and academic levels, this only lends substance to the truism that the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know.”
“But, definitely, yielding to this gentle and universal emotion,” it stressed, “is not to be so casually equated with immorality.”
And this is because, it emphasized, “the deviation of the circumstances of their marriage from the usual societal pattern cannot be considered as a defiance of contemporary social mores.”