By Marc Jayson Cayabyab
The entry ban on Sigma Rho and Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity members was lifted a day after it was imposed by the UP College of Law and National College of Public Administration and Governance Friday.
After Law students Francis Asilo and Eric Pasion, Upsilon Sigma Phi members, were attacked by alleged Sigma Rho members Thursday (see related article), the two fraternities, supported by alumni, talked with faculty and entered into a peace accord last Saturday morning, said Tim Guanzon, Law Student Government president.
This came after an earlier truce was brokered last Monday, with the two fraternities promising an end to violent incidents.
Sigma Rho and Upsilon Sigma Phi members have reportedly been clashing since last week (see related timeline).
“We appreciate the effort of both groups to start a culture of peaceful and cooperative co-existence,” Guanzon said of Saturday’s peace accord.
Culture of violence
In a protest action held last Friday, Deans Marvic Leonen (College of Law) and Alex Brillantes Jr. (NCPAG) decried the recent fraternity-related violence.
Leonen said these kinds of organizations are fostering a “culture of violence” to prove their members’ “masculinity.”
“But what I know of masculinity has something to do with courage. To prove your masculinity does not require you to maim or kill an individual,” Leonen said
Quoting what a journalist told him regarding the incident – “No more respect for UP Law,” –Leonen clarified it is not UP Law involved in the incident, but the two fraternities.
“You earned for your fraternity the image that you’re a gangster because of these things that are happening,” Leonen added.
Meanwhile, Brillantes said fraternity-related violence has reached its peak, that “this culture of violence continue to be perpetrated, while pretending that we are still in a civilized university.”
Earlier, the two fraternities asked for a truce to settle the incident. But Leonen said he was no longer interested in any truce.
“What I’m interested in is that you’re out of the college unless you comply with our demands,” Leonen said.
Among these demands are the guarantees from both fraternities that they would stop this violence as well as a joint statement apologizing to the entire UP community.
Rainier Sindayen, University Student Council (USC) chairperson, said the incident “undermined the unity” students needed against the issues surrounding the university.
“Nakakatakot na ang kalaban natin ay isang sistematikong kultura ng impunity at violence sa hanay ng mga fraternities, na dapat sana ay mapakapanan natin sa pagsulong ng mga interes ng mga estudyante,” Sindayen said.
Sindayen added that the USC planned to convene all fraternities in the university to come up with a “proactive solution.”
“Patuloy tayong kikilos para pagkaisahin ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan, at resolbahin ang mga kagyat na usaping ito,” Sindayen said.
Meanwhile, citing the Diliman Commune when fraternities in UP played a major role, USC vice chairperson Amme Agudo said fraternities should reorient themselves back to their militant tradition.
“Kakailanganin ng training para mare-orient ang fraternities. [Ang kanilang militanteng tradition naman talaga] ang dahilan bakit natatag ang mga fraternities,” Agudo said.
Fellow fraternities speak up
Other UP-based fraternities joined the UP community in condemning this recent violence allegedly committed by their fellow fratmen.
Bob Sombillo, Pi Sigma fraternity president, said fraternities are different from gangs because of fraternities were “brotherhood(s) willing to stand up for their pro-people and pro-just principles.”
“Alam po namin kung ano ang katamaan ng pagiging tapat sa mga brad. Pero alam din po namin na nagiging tapat kami sa mga brad namin dahil may prinsipyo ang frat. Hindi tayo gangs,” Sombillo said.
Melvin Banzon, Alpha Phi Beta Lord Chancellor, reaffirmed Sombillo’s statement, adding that the incident was an “attack on the concept of brotherhood.”
“We call to all fellow fratmen to man up, answer for their actions, and stand up to what a fraternity stands for: excellence and service, not violence,” Banzon said.
With reporting by Franz Jonathan de la Fuente