By Hanah Tabios
University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan appealed to the public to “stop posting and forwarding social media messages” related to the alleged death of a Sigma Rho fraternity member who was implicated in a hazing-related incident about two years ago.
“Let us do this out of sense of decency and respect for the privacy of the family,’ Tan said in a statement referring to the alleged death of a neophyte member of the fraternity.
The UP Chancellor noted that sensationalism, itself, was a form of violent assault, and was not the solution to the fraternity culture of violence.
The issue stemmed from photos and screenshots from an anonymous Twitter-user that went viral on social media last week, which showed a fraternity resident of Sigma Rho who seemed to be threatening a neophyte.
“Malalaman ko na may nakakita [ng marks] or nakaalam niyan bro, yari ka sa akin. Okay ba ‘yon?,” a text message said to which the unidentified neophyte responded “yes.”
Apart from that, photos of a man holding a paddle, and an alleged UP law student whose face and arms were covered with bruises also surfaced online.
A paddle has always been associated with hazing-related rituals.
Among the names mentioned in the leaked conversation was Tierone Santos, an incumbent councilor of UP Diliman student council.
In fact, on Friday, Tan earlier said that the academic institution have already placed the suspects tagged in the frat-related violence under preventive suspension towards the pursuit of justice for the hazing victims.
Frat-related violence has long been an issue in the country’s premier academic institution. It will be recalled that just last year, the controversial “LonsiLeaks” also ignited online outrage where fraternity members of what is known as the oldest fraternity in Asia Upsilon Sigma Phi spoke about bigotry, homophobia, as well as anti-Muslim and pro-Martial Law remarks.
They were also allegedly involved in two separate violent brawls inside the university November last year against members of Alpha Phi Beta.