Makati police: No delay in filing of case vs hazing suspects
MANILA, Philippines – One week after a college student was killed in a hazing ritual, authorities have yet to file a complaint against suspected fraternity members of Tau Gamma Phi.
Makati City police chief Senior Superintendent Manuel Lukban Jr said they are still waiting for the statements of other victims – the “direct witnesses” – who are still recuperating in the hospital.
“Hindi masasabing delay kung hindi binibigyan lang ng higit na importansya ang magiging statements directly from our victims para masiguradong matibay ang ating case na i-fa-file,” he said on Friday, July 4.
(We can't say it's being delayed. We're only giving more importance to the statements coming directly from our victims to ensure that the case we will file is strong.)
De La Salle-College of St Benilde students Guillo Cesar Servando, John Paul Raval, Lorenze Agustin, and another 17-year-old man were brought to a boarding house in Makati City around Saturday afternoon, June 28, for the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity. (READ: FAST FACTS: Get to know Tau Gamma Phi)
After the initiation, they were brought back to One Archer’s Place along Taft Avenue in Manila. From there, the students called Patrol 117 for help. They were rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, but Servando was pronounced dead on arrival. (READ: Aquino condemns hazing: It 'escapes any logic')
Aside from Servando’s father, Aurelio, Lukban said another victim has already given a statement but it has yet to be signed.
Willing to surrender
As of Friday, the Makati police have already identified “more or less 13 to 14” suspects, with 4 to 5 of them willing to surrender and to fully cooperate with the investigation.
“Ang ilang magulang ng mga na-involve sa hazing na 'to ay nakausap natin personally. Sila, sampu ng kanilang mga anak na na-involve dito, ay humihingi talaga ng pagpapaumanhin sa naganap o sa naging resulta ng kanilang hazing,” Lukban said.
(We were able to talk personally to some parents of those involved in this hazing. In behalf of their children, they are really asking for forgiveness for what happened during, and what resulted from, the hazing.)
He said these fraternity members also hope to encourage the others to follow suit. (READ: Death and brotherhood)
The Makati police already have the full names, aliases, and first names of the suspects, and hope to file a complaint by next week.
Jemar Pajarito, the informant and caretaker of the boarding house used as the venue for the hazing ritual, is not yet considered a suspect. He will be given the chance to give an official statement on his actual participation once all the victims have given their statements.
“Kung ang kanyang statement ay mag-corroborate dun sa sinasabi ng victims, kaagad nating tatanggapin 'to. Pero kung ito ay magiging self-serving at mawawala dun sa mga facts na ire-relay sa atin ng mga victims, ito ay isa-strike out natin at hindi natin ico-consider na voluntary surrender," Lukban explained.
(If his statement corroborates the victims' statements, we will accept it immediately. But if it's self-serving and will stray from what the victims wll relay, we will strike it out, and we will not consider his act as voluntary surrender.)
The Makati police chief said the suspects who already approached them have no intention to leave the country. All they ask for is due process.
He promised they will be detained properly and they will be listened to should they decide to give their statements as well.
Meanwhile, the owner of the boarding house may be off the hook.
Based on Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, the owner of the place where the hazing is conducted is also liable as an accomplice if he/she has actual knowledge. (READ: College students call for review of Anti-Hazing Law)
"Nakikita natin sa kaniya na wala siyang kaalaman sa naganap at ang kaniyang caretaker...lamang ang nag-decide para papasukin o pagamitin ang kaniyang mga kasamahan sa fraternity," Lukban said, noting the owner "fully cooperated" when the house was investigated these past days.
(We see that she has no knowledge of what happened and it was only the caretaker who decided to let the fraternity members enter and use the house.)
The National Capital Region Police Office, headed by Regional Director Carmelo Valmoria, convened a case conference Friday to consolidate evidence gathered by the MPD, the Manila Police District, and other authorities involved in the investigation.
On Wednesday, members of the Makati police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) went to the Makati boarding house for an initial ocular inspection.
The NBI also came back on Thursday, July 3, with a search warrant.
On Wednesday, some items were gathered from the crime scene for forensic processing. The result of the examination is expected within 3 to 5 days. – Rappler.com