July 19, 2018, 6:02 am
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Hooliganism in fraternities

THE Aegis Juris murder case of UST law student Horacio Castillo III is in court. How many decades will this trial take? Relevant to reprint my Malaya column of June 11, 2014 on the SC conviction of frat members for the murder 20 years earlier--1994--of a U.P. law student:

Are the members of those U.P. law school fraternities, Scintilla Juris and Sigma Rho still out to kill each other? ...While school administrators watch impotently? Too inert to stop the evil acts at campuses? 

U.P. Iskolar ng Bayan--educated with taxpayers’ money--without giting nor dangal but with clubs and lead pipes, chasing each other. One slammed against me as I was walking across campus. Dashed right on, without any concern for this knocked-down female faculty member, I managed not to hit my skull on the concrete. 

Such frat violence 20 years ago, December 8, 1994, caused law student Dennis Victorina a fractured skull, and death two days later at St. Luke’s. Sigma Rhoans were eating lunch at the Beach House Canteen near the U.P. main library when they were attacked by masked men wielding baseball bats and lead pipes. Witnesses claimed that some attackers lost their face coverings during the scuffle, exposing their identity. The Sigma Rhoans, who filed complaints in the NBI two days later, identified 12 of their attackers, all members of Scintilla Juris. 

Last month, May 2014, a decision from the SC Third Division affirmed the QC-RTC sentences of reclusion perpetua, life in prison, on Scintilla Juris members Daniel Feliciano Jr., Julius Victor Medalla, Christopher Soliva, Warren Zingapan and Robert Michael Beltran Alvir. 

The Court of Appeals (CA) earlier downgraded the attempted murder case to slight physical injury but the SC restored the RTC’s verdict which found the five men guilty of attempted murder.

In February 2002, after a six-year trial, the QC-RTC found the five suspects guilty of murder and attempted murder. Five other suspects were acquitted, the case against one was earlier dropped, while another suspect—Benedict Guerrero—remained at large.

The Supreme Court said the collective intent of the accused to kill “was already present at the moment of attack and that intent was shared by all of them when the presence of conspiracy was proven in the RTC.... It would be illogical to presume that despite the swiftness and suddenness of the attack, the attackers intended to kill only Venturina, Natalicio and Fortes, and only intended to injure Lachica, Mangrobang and Gaston. Since the intent to kill was evident from the moment the accused took their first swing, all of them were liable for that intent to kill,” according to the 28-page decision penned by Justice Marvic Leonen.

The majority SC justices in 1994 condemned fraternity violence: “The culture of impunity must stop. There is no space in this society for hooliganism disguised as fraternity rumbles. The perpetrators must stand and suffer the legal consequences of their actions. They must do so for there is an individual who now lies dead, robbed of his dreams and the dreams of his family. Excruciating grief for them will never be enough.

“Fraternity rumbles are an anathema, an immature and useless expenditure of testosterone. It fosters a culture that retards manhood. It is devoid of ‘giting at dangal’ (‘valor and honor,’ words in the U.P. anthem). This kind of shameful violence must stop.”--Supreme Court, on that 1994 frat violence. 


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