MANILA, Philippines – Fear of going to school has started to set in on some students of the Far Eastern University (FEU) in Manila, after 3 FEU students were shot Tuesday night by unknown suspects in front of the campus grounds.
Two of the victims, Jerald Ramos and Juan Paulo Nepomuceno, died while Adrian Joseph Santiago was injured and admitted at the University of Sto. Tomas hospital.
All of them are members of the FEU Green Bisons, the official cheer drummers of FEU.
They were exiting the campus Tuesday night after a cheering practice when unidentified armed men shot them.
Freshman student Josh Villanueva said he now fears walking to and from school.
"Natatakot din. Maraming loko dito. Kailangan doble ingat,” he said.
Internal audit student Alyana Cadapan, meanwhile, said her parents are already starting to worry.
"Marami nang pakalat-kalat dito. Sabi nga ng parents ko...lumipat na lang ng school,” she said.
FEU Tamaraws coach Bert Flores said this recent incident is very similar to the incident in July 2008 when one of their players, Mac Baracael, was shot.
"Player din namin diyan sa area na ‘yan (binaril)…si Baracael. Siya naman nag-survive, eh etong dalawa, patay agad,” he said.
Flores also recalled, the police visibility at that time didn't last long after the 2008 incident.
"Merong mga pulis may nagbabantay, after nun nawala naman. Siguro ngayon, bantayan na nila agad kasi dalawa patay agad".
This is not the only instance of violence involving FEU students.
Aside from the 2008 Baracael shooting, just October of this year, a 20-year-old female student of the University of Sto. Tomas was attacked and stabbed by 6 FEU students outside the FEU campus in Morayta, Manila after watching a stage play.
Wearing white arm belts with a slogan that says, "No to violence”, FEU students and professors gathered in front of the campus and lit candles Wednesday afternoon to start a prayer vigil.
They prayed for justice, guidance, and for the families of Jerald and Paulo and for the quick recovery of Adrian.
The prayer vigil will last until December 13.
After the vigil, some FEU students tweeted that the FEU Green Bisons boomed their drums in the middle of the campus to salute their fellow Bisons.
The FEU Green Bisons Facebook account was also flooded with messages offering condolences to the victims and their families.
Ma. Buenafe Bascara Ramos commented: “Why they can take lives so easy? These kids have bright future ahead of them. Yes justice has to be served, because they deserve more than what it can offer. My deep sympathies for their bereaved families.”
Chatrea Orpilla said: “Condolences to the families…prayers for them, may justice prevail this time and serves as a wake up call for it won’t happen again.”
Junior Teodoro Gorospe posted: “R.I.P my fellow brothers…”
Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) condemned the shooting of the FEU students, but admits there is nothing it can do to solve the killings.
"Unfortunately, we can appeal to the authorities to do their job, police action na ang kailangan dito…I think the procedures, rules and regulations are there. There are groups that can effectively handle the situation. Dahil police matters na ito, ang CHED hindi na mangingialam dito", said CHED executive director IV Atty. Julito Vitriolo.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, is still investigating if the incident is related to fraternity violence.
“Malaki ang papel ng PNP. Pagpo- provide ng tamang investigation, na katunayan ‘yun na ang ginagawa namin para mapanagot namin kung sino ang responsable", said PNP spokesman chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo.