MANILA – A member of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity who surrendered following the hazing death of a neophyte claimed he was only the caretaker of a house where the fatal initiation rites occurred, a police official said.
Makati Police chief Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban said Jomar Pajarito claimed he was only the caretaker of a Makati house where members of Tau Gamma Phi carried out the hazing, which resulted in the death of De La Salle – College of St. Benilde sophomore Guillo Servando.
Lukban , however, said Pajarito's claim that he did not participate in the initiation rites, as well as the details in his statement, will still have to be validated.
He said Pajarito claimed to have left the house upon the arrival of the fraternity members.
In case Pajarito's claim that he was only the house's caretaker is true, he will still be held liable under the Anti-Hazing Law, Lukban added.
''Ang kanyang alegasyon initially is ang kanyang mga kasamahan sa Tau Gamma Phi ay pinayagan niyang makapunta o magamit ang kanyang kinalalagyan dahil ito ay may bakanteng lote sa likod at magmemeeting lang ang kanyang kasamahan,'' Lukban said.
''Ang pagiging caretaker [ng isang bahay na ginamit sa initiation rites] ay malaking pananagutan sa Anti-Hazing Law. So sa ngayon hindi pa natin cino-confirm na siya ay caretaker dahil siya ay maaring managot bilang kasapi sa mga makakasuhan."
The house is allegedly owned by a certain Merlyn Venus.
Meanwhile, Lukban said investigators have yet to identify the people who were seen in CCTV footage dragging Servando out of an elevator at One Archers Place along Taft Avenue in Manila.
Lukban added both the Makati and Manila police departments already have an ''unofficial'' list of suspects in the latest hazing death to rock the country. At least 11 people are believed to have been involved in the initiation rites.
''Meron kaming napag-usapan ng mga investigators ng Manila Police District, pero ito ay unofficial pa dahil wala pa pong sapat na complaint, wala pang sapat na affidavit na nagawa ang MPD maliban sa sworn statements ng mga security guards ng condominium kung saan nakita ang mga biktima,'' he said.
Police, meanwhile, have also cordoned off the house, located in Makati's Palanan village.
DAD SEEKS JUSTICE
Aurelio Servando, Guillo's father, called on those involved in the hazing incident that claimed his son's life to come forward.
As the servando family prepares to cremate his remains this afternoon, the bereaved father said he is still in shock.
Aurelio said there is no easy way to deal with his son's death, especially when they see the footage of his final moments.
''It was very heart-wrenching. My wife broke down. She saw it first and I constantly see it every now and then… Every time we see it, it makes us feel so bad,'' the older Servando told ANC's Headstart.
Looking back, Aurelio said his son, being a bodybuilder, was a natural magnet for fraternities.
He noted that despite their warnings, there was little they could have done to dissuade Guillo from joining a fraternity.
''He had the inclination. He was a very brave boy, wanted to join the PMA (Philippine Military Academy) but we prevented him because if he joined there was a possibility of losing him early in life, but he loved challenges…he loved to go to the gym three to four times a week. His dream was to become an Arnold Schwarzenegger,'' he said.
To give meaning to his son's death, Aurelio said he wants to make students aware of the dangers of joining fraternities and the grief that comes with the senseless death of a child. – with ANC