By Franz Jonathan de la Fuente
Two Law students were injured in a an off-campus attack Thursday night, less than a week after a truce was made between two warring fraternities in the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Francis Asilo, 24, and Eric Pasion, 25, both fifth-year Law students, sustained head and face injuries after four unidentified men repeatedly hit them with lead pipes at Shakey’s Katipunan 6:35 p.m. Thursday evening.
The lead pipes were found to be stamped with the Sigma Rho fraternity insignia, which has found to be at odds with Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity since last week (see related article), said Pasion.
Asilo is a former president of the UP Organization of Business Economics Majors and vice chairperson of KAISA (Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan) from 2005 to 2006, while Pasion is the founder of the organizations UP Gawad Kalinga, Heroes Core, and Run4Change. Both are Upsilon Sigma Phi members.
Asilo and Pasion were studying and conducting a case conference with six classmates from the UP Office of Legal Aid (OLA) and supervising professor Atty. Glenda Litong when the suspects entered the restaurant and attacked them.
“There was nothing suspicious about the four men, at first. They came in pretty quickly,” said Philippine Online Chronicles writer Ren Aguila, a witness.
Asilo and Pasion were later rushed to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center and were treated for their injuries.
UP College of Law Dean Marvic Leonen said the attack might be the culmination of a week-long incidence of violence between the Sigma Rho and Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternities (see related article)
This took place days after a truce was reached last Monday with Leonen, College Secretary Solomon Lumba, and other Law School Government (LSG) representatives as witnesses.
The two fraternities’ heads vowed to prevent any further violence on- or off-campus, Lumba said in a telephone interview.
In a statement, Leonen has asked “all law students, faculty and staff to unite to stop this useless wanton and barbaric display of machismo” and has banned Sigma Rho and Upsilon Sigma Phi members from entering the college. This has since been lifted in a meeting at the Bahay ng Alumni this afternoon.
Bonifacio Cristino, the security guard on-duty at Shakey’s Thursday, believes an accomplice distracted him from the restaurant’s main entrance, which was unguarded when the suspects entered.
“A man who introduced himself as an Atenean approached me and said he had a meeting inside. He asked help to move some boxes from his car (along Rosa Alvero Street), but he was nowhere to be found after the incident happened. I think he was an accomplice,” Cristino said in an exclusive interview with TNP.
Cristino, who also attends to the parking space fronting Shakey’s, said he tried to apprehend the four suspects who immediately fled the restaurant, but they escaped via a waiting car.
There was no surveillance camera installed in the vicinity to record the incident.
Together with Dean Leonen and the University Student Council, the LSG has denounced the attack on the two Law students.
“We call on the Members (of the fraternities) to take the first stand against violence, to have the courage to walk away from aggression and the temptation of avenging the ‘ego’ and to be the better persons that they are,” the LSG urged in a statement released yesterday afternoon.
“The events that happened this week have proven that the supposed ideals of these once great institutions are but mere lip service and that their word is no longer as good as their bond,” it reiterated.
LSG President Teresa Iris Maris Guanzon said the UP OLA would file charges against the unidentified four suspects, regardless of whether Asilo and Pasion do.
Pasion said a complaint was already being drafted, pending the gathering of pertinent evidence.