Graduation, for a 20-year-old on the cusp of life, is both a beginning and an end, hence, it is called a commencement exercise. It marks the end of his life in school and the beginning of a life in the work world.
But how a student finishes the academic race may, to a large extent, determine how one fare as a professional, or build a career. The race to the top begins in school and the corresponding pressures on the student can have serious repercussions.
Philip John Altubar, a graduating student from the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-ITT) was found dead by his roommates inside the toilet of the dormitory near the university campus.
Altubar hang himself using a leather belt attached to a steel towel hanger inside the toilet. His roommate and close friend, Reyland de Chavez, himself a graduating Education student, said “Philip arrived from class at about 3 p.m. on November 28. An hour later, someone came to the boarding house to fetch him for a thesis dry run.”
Their three other roommates were still out of the boarding house at that time. When the caretaker called for Philip, he noticed water flowing down the toilet floor. A roommate who just arrived entered the toilet through the window and found Philip already dead.
This came as a shock to his friends and school authorities as Altubar, a scholar, was not doing badly at all.
Senior Insp. Felix Rabago Jr., Police Station 1 commander, said a suicide letter was found on Altubar’s bed.
Altubar was apparently depressed about his thesis. He felt there was something wrong with it and was worried that he would not graduate with magna cum laude honors because of this, Chavez said.
The letter, which was turned over to his parents, Philip mentioned that he was afraid he might not be able to continue supporting his parents in Baroy (Lanao del Norte). As a scholar he shared his allowance with his family.
But College of Science and Mathematics assistant dean Melmar Labendia said, “It is not true that there was something wrong with his thesis. He already completed it and was prepared for the colloquium. Philip was above board in his academic performance and was a candidate for cum laude.”
Chavez said that while Altubar kept a very tight schedule, he did not show signs of being depressed. He was an introvert, had no girlfriend and had very few friends.
Responding policemen and Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) found no signs of foul play.