(First published on Nov. 21, 2018) Members of a fraternity based in the University of the Philippines denounced their fellow members’ views allegedly revealed in a leaked online chat filled with disturbing messages of killing Lumad members and misogyny.
Screenshots of an alleged group chat of members of Upsilon Sigma Phi, touted as the country’s oldest Greek fraternity, went viral on Twitter in the morning of November 21.
The chat transcript, showing anti-Muslim and pro-martial law sentiments, has been widely criticized on social media.
This prompted some of its members to issue their own statements on Facebook. These had since been deleted on their accounts.
Condemnation from Upsilon members
Akbayan Youth Chair Juan Carlo Tejano, an Upsilon member, appealed on Facebook for the current leaders of the fraternity to take action. His post was deleted as of Thursday, November 22.
“We are asking for immediate and unequivocal action from the Fraternity. We are asking the Fraternity’s leadership to make a choice—either to verify and identify and expel the members responsible, or we will completely disaffiliate ourselves from the Frat,” Tejano said.
He wrote that the views being conveyed in the photos are not “doctrines” that Upsilon upholds.
“Upsilon teaches us fraternity—the value. Brotherhood, sacrifice, instinctive love, selflessness. An imperative to forego the self for others, to self-negate for the greater good, to be of service to fellowmen,” Tejano said.
“This is not the Upsilon I joined a decade ago. This is not the Upsilon of its doctrines. This cannot be the Upsilon of the next 100 years. This cannot be a part of who I am,” he added.
Similarly, Yael Toribio, UP Student Council Chair and Upsilon member, tells of filing his leave of absence from the fraternity until such crisis in their organization is solved.
“In this light, I have tendered my leave of absence with my fraternity until those involved are identified and further proven to be members, and until this abhorrent and antiquated culture no longer exists,” read part of Toribio’s statement on Facebook.
It is not clear, however, if fraternities allow their members to take leaves of absence.
“This is not the fraternity I joined,” he continued. “This is not the Imperative of Service that I joined for and I uphold in whatever I do.”
Upsilon was founded in 1918 in the UP campus without a name at first. It was only on March 24, 1921 when the Greek letters Upsilon Sigma Phi, which stands for “University Students Fraternity,” was adopted.
Considered as one of the oldest fraternities in Asia, it has a roster of notable members such as late dictator Marcos, his political rival Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and former UP President Alfredo Pascual.
Other known members are Sen. Richard Gordon and businessman and television host Anthony Pangilinan.
Upsilon recently celebrated its 100th anniversary on November 18, hence the hashtag #Upsilon100.
President Rodrigo Duterte even made Proclamation 589 that declares 2018 as Upsilon’s centennial year.
Filipinos, however, used the hashtag to share the purportedly leaked information to call out the fraternity online.
A Twitter account bearing the Upsilon name with its logo was the one that posted the supposed images in the morning. The account is still active but since switched into private mode.
Opinions in the chat, perceived to be highly offensive, include expressions of support for the Marcos family’s rule over the dark martial law years, women as objects for sex and bombing of Muslims and Lumads.
[THREAD OF MY "FAVE" SEXIST SLURS FROM OUR BELOVED UPSILON SIGMA PHI]
— Tina Boado 🏳️🌈 (@inaurner) November 21, 2018
Members of Upsilon in their most daring role as right-wing, misogynistic, pro-Marcos shitheads. Nakakagalit. Ang dami-daming namatay at tinorture noong Martial Law tapos meron kayong kapal ng mukha magsalita ng ganyan. pic.twitter.com/CVr9RkBsmL
— lone wolf #NoJusticeUnderDu30 (@JamWithLeo) November 20, 2018
Others even tagged the Twitter accounts of those they deemed to be part of the conversation.
Some users inferred that this was exposed by someone in Upsilon who wished to destabilize the century-old group.
Its members were linked in a case of a violent car chase on November 14 against those of its rival, the Alpha Phi Beta, which is also at UP.