Statement on the Death of Cris Anthony Garcia Mendez
The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) extends its condolences to the family of Cris Anthony Garcia Mendez, a fourth-year student of the National College of Public Administration and Governance, who passed away reportedly from fraternity hazing on August 27.
We wish to assure the Mendez family and the general public that the University is doing its best to ensure that those responsible for his death are made to face the bar of law.
UPD strongly condemns the use of violence as a prerequisite for admission into any organization. It firmly believes that the constitutional provision on the freedom of association ends when life is sacrificed for the fraternity values of barkada and pakikisama. Human life, as the ultimate cost in any rite of passage, is an utterly unacceptable price to pay for brotherhood: such distorted values have no place in an institution of higher learning like UP.
We sternly urge the officers, members and alumni of the concerned fraternity to extend their full support and cooperation to the University and the authorities to swiftly bring this case to its just and proper resolution.
Rules and regulations governing the conduct of student organizations have been in place and strictly enforced since 1976, way before the passage of Republic Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law in 1995. Successive UPD administrations have added teeth to these measures to make them even more responsive to the dynamics of the current interaction among these student organizations.
Yet the culture of violence continues to exist. It has to stop.
We therefore appeal to the fraternities, particularly their alumni, to take the lead in transforming the culture of violence into more productive endeavors to benefit the University and society.
Sergio S. Cao
August 29, 2007