One year after the tragedy, the office of the Ombudsman has dismissed from government service the president of the Bulacan State University (BulSU) and eight other university officials and teachers after finding them guilty for the deaths of seven students during a school field trip in San Miguel, Bulacan. The group were swept-away by the strong current while crossing Madlum river on their way to the Madlum cave.
On July 24, 2015 Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the decision on the administrative case for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty against the BulSU officials and released on August 7.
The Ombudsman also cancelled the BulSU officials’ eligibility, forfeited their retirement benefits, and disqualified them from holding public office and from taking the civil service examination.
Dismissed were Mariano de Jesus, BulSU president; Nicanor de la Rama, dean of student affairs; Nerisa Viola, dean of the College of Home Economics (CHE); Angelina Cinco, assistant dean of CHE; professors Mary Jane Lopez and Angelyn Dy Tioco; and instructors Leslie Garcia, Rossette Tanwangco and Reynita del Fonso.
In last year’s (August 27, 2014) hearing, lawmakers led by Representative Roman T. Romulo, Chair of the Committee on Technical and Higher Education, grilled BulSU President Mariano De Jesus and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Eduardo Sangalang on procedural lapses in the conduct of the field trip. The need for accountability for possible negligence was emphasized.
Representative Romulo, then, said, “May mga batang namatay, may mga pamilyang naulila. Kailangang may managot sa aksidenteng ito.”
The Ombudsman has yet to decide on the criminal case of the BulSU officials. The victims’ families pursued both criminal and administrative charges in the Ombudsman against the BulSU officials.
Also, in the last year’s hearing, Cong. Roman’s Committee on Technical and Higher Education approved the unanimous motion to commend the heroic act of Sean Rodney Alejo and Mikhail Alcantara of saving two of their classmates from the rummaging flash flood at Madlum River, even if it would cost them their own lives.