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(UPDATE 3 - 5:44 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - A student of the San Beda law school has died after going through suspected fraternity hazing rituals in Dasmariñas, Cavite, on Sunday, a police official said on Tuesday.
The San Beda Law Student Government, in a post on its Facebook page, Lsghotline Sbc, also confirmed the death of Marc Andrei Marcos, saying they first received reports of the development at around 3 p.m. on Monday.
A tweetpic sent by Katrina Marcos, sister of San Beda law student Andrei Marcos, who died after allegedly undergoing a fraternity hazing in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Cavite police director, Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao acknowledged receiving "sketchy reports" about the death of Marcos in a "mauling incident" in Dasmarinas City and said he had "scolded" the local chief of police, Superintendent Ulysses Cruz, for failing to act immediately on the incident.
Bulalacao said they were looking into the possibility that Marcos was a victim of fraternity hazing, given the "suspicious" behavior of the still unidentified suspects who sought medical treatment for their own victim.
If the hazing angle proves true, Marcos would be the second San Beda law student to die from hazing this year after Marvin Reglos, who was killed in February. In the meantime, the case is being treated as a "mauling" incident.
Cavite police director, Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao said he had “scolded” Dasmarinas chief of police, Superintendent Ulysses Cruz, for failing to act immediately on the incident.
"This happened last July 29 that is why I scolded the chief of police of Dasmarinas City," Bulalacao said in a phone interview adding that the local police should have conducted an investigation immediately since the hospital reported the incident to them.
Quoting from reports he received, Bulalacao said the Dasmarinas police received a phone call from the De La Salle University Medical Center at 2:26 a.m. informing them that a badly wounded Marcos had been taken to the hospital Sunday night by a Soledad Sanda and two unidentified companions.
The report said Marcos had been "mauled" in a farm in Sitio Bisaya, Lt. Cantimbuhan Street, Barangay Zone 3 in Dasmarinas.
However, Sanda's companions left the hospital as soon as Marcos was admitted.
Bulalacao also said Sanda allegedly received a text message from a certain "Gian" saying, "Naitimbre ko na sa pulis ‘yan (I’ve informed the police about that)."
He said the sender of the message was Gian Angelo Velus, 27, a fourth-year law student at San Beda-Alabang and whose family owned the farm.
Sanda, on the other hand, and Marlen Gudayo are cooks of the Velus family.
However, Bulalacao said the two have gone missing.
Bulalacao also clarified that Velus is not yet considered a suspect although "he can provide us with a lead, information on what happened."
He added Velus could be a member of the fraternity Marcos was attempting to join, although he admitted police have yet to identify the group.
Bulalacao said he has sent investigators to the San Beda College of Law to search for the suspects.
On its FB page, the Law Student Government said they went to the DLSU Medical Center on receiving news that Marcos had been brought to the hospital “but the body was no longer there.”
Marcos’ body was taken to Camp Crame in Quezon City for autopsy and has since been released to his family.
The faculty of arts and letter of the University of Sto. Tomas, where Marcos earned his undergraduate degree, has joined a campaign to seek justice for his death.
Marcos' siblings have also mounted an online campaign for justice, urging people with information about his death to come forward and promising them protection.
Meanwhile, Malacañang called on students to refrain from participating in violent activities saying that no one would benefit from it.
"Kung totoo man na ito ay biktima ng hazing, itigil na po natin ang ganitong cycle of violence, wala namang nagbe-benefit sa ganito,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing on Tuesday in Malacanang.
(If it is true that he is a hazing victim, let us stop this cycle of violence since no one would benefit from this.)
Valte gave an assurance that the Philippine National Police would conduct a thorough investigation of Marcos' case.
In the meantime, pending the completion of the investigation, Marcos' case will be considered as a "mauling incident".
Also, the national youth group Anakbayan urged all student organizations, associations and fraternities "to discard the usage of brutal, violent, and fatal hazing."
"Instead, student organizations should devote their time and efforts to providing community service, especially to the communities of the marginalized and the poor in urban and rural areas. We direct this proposal, not just to the San Beda community, but to all other universities and academic communities across the country," Anakbayan said in statement on Tuesday.
The group said that while the "right to organize" is a right of every Filipino, this does not give anyone the right to "to injure, maim, and kill."
Anakbayan urged authorities to identify, arrest, and prosecute the suspects involved in the crime.