U.P. community condemns frat-related violence, impunity over leaked chat
MANILA, Philippines – Student groups from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman slammed the fraternity-related violence and impunity inside the campus through a mobilization protest on Thursday, September 26.
The protest came after the alleged leaked conversations of UP Sigma Rho Fraternity members went viral online Wednesday morning, September 25.
The screenshots show conversations among the fraternity members and photos of the hazing – from images on the procurement and brandishing of a paddle, to a group of persons preparing for what seemed to be a hazing ritual. The photo that sparked outrage online was that of a person whose face and arms were covered with bruises.
Among the names mentioned in the leaked conversation was that of UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) Councilor Tierone Santos. With his alleged involvement in the hazing activity, the USC has put Santos under preventive suspension pending further investigation.
This leaked message thread comes on the heels of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio’s death due to injuries caused by hazing. In the ensuing days, 3 more PMA cadets would be reported to be hospitalized for suspected fraternity-related violence.
A culture of impunity
Several students from the UP College of Law were also linked to the alleged conversation, stirring up condemnation from within the law school’s student body.
“I cannot stomach the fact that these students will soon become lawyers, and early as now they are already violating the law,” said Xandi Pascua from UP Law Student Government during the mobilization on Tuesday, September 24.
According to Belle Ginez, Chairperson of UP Alyansa, the mobilization aimed to express their groups’ strongest condemnation of frat-related violence and the impunity that existed within schools. Ginez said that frat-related violence has killed and endangered so many students, but no one is truly held accountable because of impunity.
In a statement, the UP University Student Council said it was condemning all forms of violence inside and outside the university.
"Such violent cases are no different from perpetrated violence by repressive state apparatuses such as the PMA’s recent case of hazing that led to the death of 20-year-old Darwin Dormitorio," the statement read. (READ: PMA cadet died due to hazing – police)
According to the student body, such incidents were rooted from the macho-feudal culture pervasive in various institutions and formations.
"With this macho-feudal culture in formations, it is seen that a prime is put on an individual's selfish interest of asserting dominance and power over others, rather than on the well-being and growth of the individual's fellow members," the statement added.
Other student organizations from UP also condemned the alleged hazing incident. According to STAND UP, hazing should be abolished, fraternity-related violence should be ended along with the culture of impunity.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ support group Babaylan called for the abolition of all fraternities and an end to an inherently violent culture.
BUKLOD CSSP called on the student leaders' respective student councils to impeach the ones involved in the hazing and asked the administration to penalize them as required by law.
Last year, leaked online conversations of Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity ignited a national media firestorm over violent misogynist, homophobic, and Islamophobic remarks.
The leaked chats and proximate altercations with Alpha Phi Beta fraternity drew widespread condemnation from the UP community, from official statements to walkouts, prompting the resignation of 3 UP student council members and even a verbal “frat war” of the rival fraternities’ senior “brods” within the Philippine Senate.
“Today, we are drawing the line. We will continue fighting until those who should be held accountable are brought to justice and until this culture of violence is once and for all ended,” said Ginez.
Ginez said that while more people were now more aware regarding the issue of fraternity-related violence, their next aim was to get more students to be actively involved in the clamor for accountability from the governing jurisdictions.
“As we move forward in our fight against this culture that exists in our society, we hope that we see concrete and immediate actions from the administration and institutions involved,” concluded Ginez. – With reports from Carlo Acilo/Rappler.com
Jaia Yap and Carlo Acilo are Rappler interns.