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.
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.