HomeCommentaryMurder most foul of the 59th student-victim of hazing

Murder most foul of the 59th student-victim of hazing

The brutal torture, abuse, beating, and savage attack on a young man Ahldryn Lery Chua Bravante, a 25-year-old fourth-year student from Imus, Cavite in the Philippine College of Criminology, caused his death last Monday 16th October 2023.

He is number 59 on the incomplete list of Filipino hazing murder victims, according to Wikipedia. The beating of Ahldryn and another student happened during a so-called initiation rite by the fraternity Tau Gamma Phi which is now allegedly responsible for at least three known murders by hazing.

The killing occurred in an abandoned warehouse in Quezon City, according to a police report which said that besides multiple bruises sustained from a sustained beating with a wooden paddle (the murder instrument later recovered from the river), there were even marks of burns and bite marks. 

It seems the hazers, torturers (at least 14 of them) when invested with unlimited power and authority over other seemingly ordinary human beings turn into frenzied animals or zombie-like creatures happy to enjoy burning and torturing by inflicting pain and some even biting their victims’ bodies.

Four of the group of torturers are in police custody and the police are searching for ten others. It was a group crime that all participated in, approved, and are allegedly accessories to murder. But will any of them be even charged and found guilty? That is most unlikely. The power and influence of the Tau Gamma Phi nationwide membership is enough to allegedly place the student members and their evil actions above the law. 

Some members of a fraternity are powerful people in business and government who can intimidate any prosecutor or judge who may be compelled to find a lack of evidence to charge any member or find anyone guilty. There will be a large pay-off or threat to the family of the victim and that will be the end of it. 

Another student victim of hazing by Tau Gamma Phi is Adamson College student John Matthew Salilig who was also killed by brutal torture and hazing last February 18, 2023, in Biñan, Laguna. He sustained at least 70 blows to the body that proved fatal. There is no news that any of the participants in his killing were in fact charged before the court in Binan, Laguna, or convicted. 

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Another student Guillo Cesar Servando of the De La Salle- College of St. Benilde was killed during the June 28, 2014 initiation rites by Tau Gamma Phi. Three other students suffered grave beatings and violent physical assault but survived. 

The signing into law of Republic Act No.11053 in 2018,  the Anti-Hazing Act, completely prohibits hazing and says “all forms of hazing shall be prohibited in fraternities, sororities, and organizations in schools, including citizens’ military training and citizens’ army training.” It also says that other non-school-based fraternities, sororities, and organizations are also forbidden to hold such initiation rites and the law imposes strong penalties to violators. There are those who are above any law. More than two decades since the enactment of the Anti-Hazing Law, only one has ever been convicted of the heinous crime.

In my previous article Death By Hazing Is Murder Most Evil last March 2023, I shared the story of one student victim who gave this moving and powerful testimony.

“As a freshman in the university, I wanted to “belong” and I thought joining a fraternity was the way to go. Fraternity members are aggressive in recruiting members as it is the lifeline of the fraternity. They convince possible recruits by mentioning the names of “illustrious” members- like this senator and that congressman, for example. These senators and congressmen, and many others in the high echelon of society, are in fact members of fraternities so for them “hazing” is an open secret. They also make membership in a fraternity very attractive. They inculcate the belief that “brotherhood” merits priority at all times. You can have access to review materials when taking the bar exam or any other board exam. Once you’ve graduated from the university, they can connect you to influential people.

When I joined the fraternity, I knew that there would be some sort of initiation rites. The process takes several days, even weeks, culminating in one night when the actual “hazing” is done in a “frat house-” a house owned by one of the ranking/most active/most committed members of the fraternity. Prior to the hazing itself, we were already made to do some physical and mental challenges. 

We were made to run around the UP academic oval as many times as we could until we were heavily panting for breath. We were made to do humiliating acts and memorize the Preamble and Constitution and memorize the names of the charter members as if they were some kind of deity.

Although I was expecting some kind of initiation, I did not expect it would be like what I experienced that night. Simply said, what I experienced was torture—beaten several times with a paddle at the back of the thigh, until it’s as purple as an eggplant already. Knees kicked such that the side of your kneecaps painfully hit each other, numerous blows to both arms, melted candle wax allowed to drip on your palm. The mental torture was already unbearable.

At that moment, I thought I would die. I accepted that fate already and surrendered myself to them. They could have killed me that night and dumped me in the septic tank of that house and no one would know. My parents didn’t know, they wouldn’t know, because I did not tell them I was joining a fraternity.

But at that point, there’s already no turning back. I passed out and woke up the following day already a “fratman,” no longer a “barbarian.” Fraternities are named after Greek letters. Those who do not belong to a fraternity are referred to as “barbarians,” as in the barbarians referred to in Greek society. But nothing is as barbaric as the hazing I experienced.
By the way, the “brothers” that did this to me, seem to be genuinely good people. They are smart people, excelling in academics and their fields of discipline. They were good sons of their parents and now most of them are successful in their chosen careers and are responsible and loving fathers to their own children. It’s difficult to understand how they can hurt a fellow human being the way they hurt me and I can’t forget how delighted they were doing it.”

There it is, the testimony of a victim who survived the torture of the brutal beaters and killers of youth who can appear to be good people. We don’t know them lurking in the fraternities, approving the brutality of initiation and violation of human rights and dignity, posing as leaders of society but corrupt at heart. Who the torturers are, some are murderers, people living apparently outwardly good lives, never brought to justice or accountability but have done unspeakable crimes.   

The Philippine Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said, “The culture of secrecy in the guise of fraternal ‘brotherhood’ is abhorrent, and each and every single person involved — from those who planned, those who participated, even those who were just present but did nothing to stop the hazing — should be thrown in jail as well. Under our law, they are all responsible.”  

Irish Father Shay Cullen, SSC, established the Preda Foundation in Olongapo City in 1974 to promote human rights and the rights of children, especially victims of sex abuse. The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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