A suspect in the fatal hazing of College of Saint Benilde student Guillo Cesar Servando who surrendered to the police on Tuesday said the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity took place in Makati City in Metro Manila.
The police, however, refused to identify the suspect.
Chief Insp. Erwin Margarejo of the Manila police confirmed that the man is in their custody.
“He is now in our custody and we will turn him over to the Makati police because the hazing took place there [Makati City],” Margarejo said.
He added that the Tau Gamma fratman disclosed that the hazing was done in a house in Barangay Palanan, Makati City.
Police also did not say if the man will be made a witness.
Barangay Palanan is very close to One Archers Tower where the victims stayed after the initiation rites.
Police investigators said charges may be filed this week against the Tau Gamma Phi fratmen involved in the hazing.
Manila police director Chief Supt. Rolando Asuncion told The Manila Times that they already know the identities of several fratmen who conducted the deadly initiation rites.
Asuncion, however, refused to give the names of those to be charged.
Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino 3rd also on Tuesday said he will find ways to add more teeth to the Anti-Hazing Law.
“To inflict such harm on people you will call brothers really escapes any logic that I can fathom,” the President pointed out, as he urged fraternity leaders to ensure that hazing will no longer be practiced.
“I would like to call upon all the elders of these various fraternities even if you had to undergo the same, isn’t it about time that you were the most active in making sure that it stops?” he asked.
“There is an Anti-Hazing Law already in the books. So one has to ask, what is lacking in terms of enforcement that prevents us from exercising the full penalties embodied in that law?” the President said.
“I will consult our legal experts and also the law enforcement side as to extensively [see], what more can be done,” he added.
Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law states “that no physical violence be employed by anybody” during initiation rites.
It also mandates that “no hazing or initiation rites in any form or manner by a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization seven days before the conduct of such initiation,” which “shall not exceed three days.”
The law also specifically states that if a death occurs as a result of hazing activities, “the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable” and may face life imprisonment.
The Tau Gamma Phi also on Tuesday said it was “deeply troubled by news reports that some members of the fraternity have been involved in the fatal hazing of Servando.”
The group added that “some of its chapters may not have abided by the fraternity’s ‘no hazing’ policy.”
It a statement, it noted that the fraternity “does not and will not condone” violence and is conducting its own internal investigation of the matter. It vowed to fully cooperate with the police in its investigation.
Meanwhile, Asuncion clarified that Rex Garcia and Hans Tamarin, the men seen in a video carrying Servando from the elevator to a unit on the 29th floor of One Archers Tower, were not students of the College of Saint Benilde.
“We were not able to find the names of Rex and Hans from those enrolled at Saint Benilde,” he told reporters.
The University of Santo Tomas also issued a statement saying Garcia and Tamarin were not their students.
Associate Professor Giovanna Fontanilla, chief of the UST Public Affairs Office, said the Alpha Kappa Rho (Akrho) is not in the official roster of recognized organizations of the university.
John Raval, a schoolmate of Servando, earlier said they attended Akrho initiation rites but police said he was lying.
“We shall monitor the progress of the police investigation and shall extend full cooperation with the proper authorities with the end in view of identifying and punishing the persons guilty of this reprehensible crime,” Fontanilla said.
Students of College of Saint Benilde and various colleges and universities held a candle-lighting ceremony on Taft Avenue in Manila also on Tuesday to demand an end to fraternity hazing.
“It is a horrific thing that fraternities which deem themselves as honor societies inflict violence as a measure to a neophyte’s manhood and loyalty to their organizations,” said Iska Dalangin, chairperson of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines.
“This perpetuates a vicious culture of violence in fraternities. It’s barbaric and senseless and it needs to end,” she added.
With a report from Francis Earl A. Cueto