- A member of the Sigma Rho Fraternity has taken his life after getting involved in a hazing exposé last week.
- UP Diliman has requested the public to respect the privacy of the kin and close friends of the Sigma Rho member.
- Screenshots and photos of members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity talking about a hazing ritual circulated online and received public backlash.
MANILA, Philippines—The University of the Philippines-Diliman has confirmed that one of the members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity has died following last week’s exposé of the group’s hazing activities.
In a statement, UP-Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan called on the public to refrain from posting on social media about the death of one of its members, who was left unnamed.
“I appeal to all students, faculty and staff, as well as other concerned parties in and out of UP Diliman, to stop posting and forwarding social media messages related to the death of one of the Sigma Rho Fraternity members implicated in last week’s online exposé of the fraternity’s hazing,” Tan said.
“Let us do this out of sense and decency and respect for the privacy of the family,” he added.
A spot report from the Quezon City Police District showed that a 22-year-old Sigma Rho student took his own life in his home in Marikina on Saturday afternoon, following the controversy. The family had already executed a waiver to launch an investigation in the crime scene.
The writer of this story did not expound on the name the victim as well as how he took his life, in respect to the privacy of the kin and the close friends of the victim.
While the UP-Diliman Office of the Chancellor did not name a particular member and divulge on his involvement in the issue, it said that it already initiated an administrative action “towards the pursuit of justice for the hazing victims,” and will keep the public posted for updates on the cases.
“Sensationalism is itself a form [of] violent assault, and is not the solution to the fraternity culture of violence,” Tan said.
On Wednesday, an anonymous Twitter user called on the concerned parties to put an end to hazing which “has done nothing but destroy lives and create this false sense of brotherhood.” His tweet came with leaked private conversations from 2017 among fraternity members about performing a hazing ritual and a photo of a man in a white shirt with bruised arms.
Among the leaked screencaps showed the late Sigma member holding a paddle which was intended for the activity.
Meanwhile, a UP alumna, whose organization UP-SAMASKOM has had the late Sigma Rho member as one of their newest members, defended the involvement of the latter in the controversy.
“[The other Sigma Rho members] are the only ones who have access to that particular thread anyway. That initiation happened two years ago in 2017,” Carla May Bautista told The Manila Times.
Bautista bared that the victim had a hard time accepting “all that bashing” from the public and had decided to “just end it.”
‘Hazing has long been part of the UP culture’
“Fraternity related violence has long been a part of the UP culture. The reason why I know that is because I personally know of young men, since I was a freshman in U.P. in 1991, who underwent the exact same process,” Bautista told The Times.
“There has to be a definitive action to finally demolish this culture of impunity,” she said.
This is not the first time that the UP Sigma Rho was called out for being involved in a violent hazing activity. 20-year-old fraternity neophyte Chris Anthony Mendez had died in 2007 after reportedly sustaining localized bleeding in various parts of his body, based on the medical-report of the QCPD.
Another fraternity group, called Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity, also received public backlash after its members were caught in a brawl inside the premises of the university last year.
The first reported hazing death in the country was of Upsilon’s neophyte member Gonzalo Albert in 1954.
Just recently, a separate hazing incident at the Philippine Military Academy led to the death of Cadet Darwin Dormitorio following maltreatment from his fellow cadets.
(This article was re-posted with minor editorial changes based on an original exclusive story published by The Manila Times.)