Michael Tan, chancellor of University of the Philippine-Diliman, warned fraternities and sororities in the university, specifically that of embattled Upsilon Sigma Phi, of expulsion should they cause more violence on campus.
Rumors also swirled online of the fraternity filing charges against those who post libelous remarks about their members on social media.
The administration then called for a meeting to all fraternities at UP. Here, university officials said that “grave consequences” will follow those who would instigate violence.
“We have also been meeting with alumni and students from all fraternities, warning them that any more of the violence will have grave consequences, including expulsion,” Tan said.
Upsilon and its rival Alpha Phi Beta, however, were unable to attend. Tan recalled that both parties reasoned that “they did try to attend but arrived late.”
Both warring groups were recently involved in two consecutive brawls inside campus grounds.
“The fraternities’ silence has been deafening,” Tan said.
Tan, on behalf of the administration, called on the two brotherhoods to take “stronger and quick action” on the “scalawags” in their ranks.
“I also call on these organizations to re-examine their concept of fraternity honor, which seems to be oriented toward protecting brods right or wrong and which comes closer to the Mafia omerta or code of silence, rather than with UP’s definition of honor,” he said.
Danilo Concepcion, the university system’s highest official and a member of Upsilon, earlier vowed not to get involved in the ongoing investigation against his frat brothers. Likewise, Upsilon vowed to be transparent with the results of its internal probe.
Tan cited the claims of Twitter user @Iskospeaks of being abducted. @Iskospeaks shared on his account that he sustained minor injuries, while his girlfriend received threats online.
Hey, my dudes. I'm fine. It's nothing more than a busted lip, a slightly more singkit right eye, and a whoozy head. I just need to rest for now. No worries, I still remember my name, recite my ABCs backwards, and well cute pa rin ako bang bang #AbolishFrats #EndFRV *finger guns*
— Isko (@iskolarspeaks) November 22, 2018
Tan said that even if the victim has yet to come forward, tensions in the prestigious university heightened because of it.
“In the light of these events, there have been calls to suspend classes, but the administration will not be doing this because to do so is to walk right into the trap laid out by, and I cannot think of a term except ‘terrorists’, people want to intimidate UP Diliman and hold us hostage to fear,” he explained.
Security at UP had also been on “red alert” since last week, Tan revealed, and the administration will be deploying more guards specifically around “frat tambayans” and “colleges with large frat memberships.”
“We continue to carry on the initiatives started last week, which is to get all the facts around the violence, including the physical encounters as well as the social media postings, leading to the filing of administrative charges,” Tan said.
“We are also investigating the abduction report with hopes the victim will come forward,” he added.
Possible libel charges?
Twitter page @Updankages posted an unverified report that Upsilon members will be taking to court those who have made libelous remarks against them on social media.
The user said it came from a “reliable source.” Despite its shady sources, the post soon made rounds on social media.
JUST IN: From a reliable source, Upsilon will be filing court cases against the people posting/tweeting libelous remarks, including the attempts of wiki edits were tracked via users' IP address.
Oh sis, damage control, thank u, next!
— UDA (@updankages) November 25, 2018
It tagged law student @YourLawyerSays to explain the grounds of libel. From which, the Twitter user replied that the law to be looked at is Article 361 of the Revised Penal Code.
“One thing is for sure: There can be no libel for merely speaking the truth,” the user assured.
Hi, @updankages. Criminal prosecution will not lie if what was imputed is true (Art 361, RPC). This will depend on the content of each individual’s statements. I can’t make a sweeping call for each case.
One thing is for sure: There can be no libel for merely speaking the truth. https://t.co/Ndws28zANf
— Your Lawyer Says (@YourLawyerSays) November 25, 2018
According to the legislation mentioned, the defendant can be acquitted if the libel charge is true but “published with good motives and for justifiable ends.”