MANILA – (UPDATE 5) A second-year student of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) died while three others were injured due to what is suspected to be another incident of hazing.
According to initial investigations conducted by the Manila Police District (MPD), the four CSB students went home to Unit 2907 of the One Archers Place in Taft Avenue, Manila, at around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The condominium guards initially thought that the four students were drunk as they were not walking steadily, but at around 11 p.m., a Red Cross ambulance arrived to respond to a call for help from the unit.
When the guards called the unit, they learned that one of the students was already dead.
PO2 Michael Marragun identified the victim as Guillo Cesar Servando, an 18-year-old second year Hotel and Restaurant Management student at St. Benilde.
"Nakita nila si Servando na lifeless na kaya nag-panic 'yung isang biktima, tumawag siya sa Patrol 117," said Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo, spokesperson of the MPD.
Servando was no longer moving when the guards and the Red Cross respondents arrived at the condominium unit. He was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, the three other students were rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, where they are being treated for bruises and wounds on their backs. Their identities have not been divulged.
All four students were either freshmen or sophomores, according to the authorities. The students’ parents have already been informed of their situation.
Authorities have yet to identify where the initiation rites were held. However, before being rushed to the hospital, the victims were able to reveal that they were picked up by a certain alias "Aircon" from a fast-food chain along Taft Avenue and blindfolded. They were brought to a certain place and then brought back near the condominium after the initiation rites.
The police have been able to identify the people who brought the victims back to the condominium as aliases Trex Garcia and Hanz Tamaring.
While authorities already have some details, MPD homicide section chief Inspector Steve Casimero said they are having difficulty investigating the death of Servando because the families of the three other students refuse to give any statements.
Casimero said the families have been referring them to their respective lawyers, who have also yet to divulge more information about the incident.
Casimero further said it would be better if authorities could get first-hand information from the three other students in case the family of Servando decides to file a case.
The MPD is now trying to get a copy of the CCTV footage from the fast-food restaurant where the victims were picked up.
The MPD-Homicide Division identified the fraternity that the students joined as Alpha Kappa Rho (AKRHO). The group has yet to issue a statement.
However, on Monday, authorities identified the fraternity involved as Tau Gamma, not AKRHO.
Meanwhile, CSB promised to investigate what happened to the student as it reiterated its prohibition of fraternities and fraternity-related violence.
"This is a time of great sadness as De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde mourns the demise of our students and prays for the recovery of the other students who are also victims of a recent fraternity hazing student," it said in the statement.
CSB also encouraged everyone to respect the privacy of the victims' families.
"The Benildean community sends its prayers to the students' families and friends. During this difficult time, Benilde responds with utmost respect and deference to all who are affected and enjoins everyone to respect the privacy of the families," it said. -- Report from Dexter Ganibe, DZMM.