‘I want to see my son’s killers’

Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If restaurateur Aurelio Servando had a choice, he would like to see and talk to the members of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity responsible for the death of his 18-year-old son.

“I would like to see them. I won’t take the law into my own hands and do anything bad to them but I would like to see them,” a calm Aurelio told The STAR even while the remains of his son Guillo was being cremated last Wednesday.

Aurelio said he has several questions for them and the most important of which is why they never brought his son to the hospital.

“I would like to ask them: ‘Why did you have to inflict so much pain on my son? Did you ever control it? Did you ever stop and realize that instead of bringing him back to the condo, if you brought him to the hospital, he might be still alive today? I would like to ask them why,” he said.

Guillo, a sophomore student of De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Saint Benilde (CSB), succumbed to multiple injuries he sustained during the initiation rites in Makati last week.

Although Aurelio has accepted his son’s death, it was difficult for him to concede that it was from hazing he called “senseless.”

“And it’s in the hands of a bunch of animals who did not deserve to have control of my son’s life,” Aurelio said.

“It makes it much more difficult. I’d rather see him die some other way. This is so instant. Plus, it’s so useless,” he added.

The Manila Police District has identified two of the suspects as Cody Errol Morales and Pope Bautista, both from DLSU.

Morales was identified as the supposed “Grand Triskelion” of Tau Gamma Phi while Bautista is the fraternity’s secretary and acted as the medic who tried to revive Servando.

The other suspects were identified as Anton Santiago, Don Castillo, Carl Loresca, Hans Tamaring, Trex Garcia, Stephen Peñano, and two others known only as Vic and Emeng, who allegedly acted as the master initiator.

The Makati police said five of the suspects in the hazing have sent feelers to surrender.

Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Manuel Lukban said he met the parents separately and they gave assurance on the surrender of the suspects.

“They assured me that they want to apologize to the family of the victims and that they would be surrendering their children who were present during the hazing rites. They also told me that they would also convince the parents of the other suspects to do the same. They realized that if their sons face jail time then they might as well bring along the others who were there,” Lukban said.

Lukban said he discussed the consequences of their plan to surrender their children.

“They told me they would talk about it among themselves and at the same time, try to convince the parents of the other suspects to also surrender their children,” he said.

Lukban said police are looking at around 13 people who were involved in the fatal hazing that was held in a house in Barangay Palanan, Makati City.

He added they are looking for the real identities of the fraternity members involved based on the draft statement of John Paul Raval, the 18-year-old who survived the hazing and is now recuperating at the Makati Medical Center.

Sources revealed that a total of 15 people were involved in the fatal hazing of Guillo.

Apart from Raval, Lorenze Agustin, 18, and a still unidentified 17-year-old managed to survive the hazing after they were also beaten along with Servando during the initiation rites.

Raval named at least 10 members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity as suspects.

Raval said he, Servando, Agustin and a certain Flores, who is a minor, met up with the members of the fraternity’s CSB chapter at a fast-food restaurant near DLSU.

Raval said they stayed there from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. before heading in a taxicab to the house at 4454 Calatagan street in Barangay Palanan, where the initiation rites were held.

According to Raval, the initiation rites started around 6 p.m. and lasted until about 9 p.m.

During the initiation rites, Raval, Flores, Agustin and Servando were subjected to severe mental and physical punishment.

Raval added that their legs were hit with wooden paddles and whipped with belts.

He said that after the initiation rites, Tamaring and Garcia brought him and the three other neophytes to his condo unit at One Archer’s Place on Taft Avenue in Manila, but left them after a few attempts to revive Servando, who passed out a few minutes after arrival.

In an effort to revive Servando, Raval said he and the two other neophytes called the Emergency 117 hotline at past 9 p.m. on Sunday.

The university, for its part, issued a statement condemning the fatal hazing of Servando.

“De La Salle University strongly condemns the fraternity hazing that resulted in the death of a student of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and the serious injuries inflicted on others. This is an unconscionable and barbaric act that deserves no place in human society,” DLSU said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

DLSU assured the victims’ parents of complete cooperation with law enforcement agencies “to bring those responsible to the bar of justice.”

“Our school does not condone any formation of fraternities. They are not welcome here. This is our house, not theirs,” CSB president and chancellor Dennis Magbanua said.

“These gangs are not allowed to use the hallowed name of our school. Brother Benilde is a saint and we will never allow the name of Benilde to be tarnished by any group that uses violence in order to form a brotherhood,” he said. – With Mike Frialde, Pia Lee-Brago


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