Tell-tale signs of hazing found in Cavite farmBy Maricar Cinco, Marlon Ramos
Inquirer Southern Luzon
The plot thickens.
The two cooks from a farm in Cavite province who brought the alleged hazing victim to the hospital are now “missing,” according to the police.
Police also found hundreds of cigarette butts, melted candles and bottles of ammonia—tell-tale signs of a fraternity hazing in a farm in Dasmariñas City in Cavite where a San Beda College (SBC) law student reportedly lost his life on Sunday.
Two caretakers of the cock breeding farm on a five-hectare lot in Barangay (village) Zone 3 also told police officers that a group of 20-25 men arrived in at least five cars and vans at around 9 a.m. that day and later “heard loud screams and moans until that evening.”
After recovering the pieces of evidence during an inspection on Tuesday, the provincial police filed a murder complaint against 20 members of Lex Leonum Fraternitas, including a son of the farm owner, and a senior law student for the death of Marc Andre Marcos.
The complaint was filed in the Dasmariñas City prosecutor’s office.
Marcos, 21, a first year law student of SBC, died on Monday from severe body injuries after undergoing hazing rites of the fraternity. His body was brought to the family home in Barangay Poblacion in Ramos town in Tarlac province.
Farm owner’s son
Among the suspects was Gian Angelo Velus, a senior law student of SBC in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and son of the farm owner. He was identified by a security guard at De La Salle University (DLSU) Medical Center where the victim was brought on Sunday night, police said.
Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao, Cavite police director, said the investigators recovered “hundreds of cigarette butts” at the farmhouse, as well as “candles usually used during initiation rites and (bottles of) ammonia, probably used to revive (the neophyte) whenever he passes out.”
Police also interviewed the farm caretakers, Roger Atienza and Rene Andaya, who said they saw the men appear in several vehicles at around 9 a.m. on Sunday. “They heard them shouting and laughing while some were moaning,” Bulalacao said.
The caretakers stayed at the right wing of a farmhouse but did not see the actual initiation rites in the premises, he said.
Quoting a relative of Marcos, Bulalacao said the student was planning to join Lex Leonum Fraternitas although he had signed a waiver against it at SBC’s College of Law.
Marcos died from “extensive traumatic injuries … [in the] upper and lower extremities,” according to an autopsy report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory.
“The victim was beaten black and blue as what was shown in the autopsy report. The injuries were concentrated on his thighs, legs and arms,” said PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr.
Jome Patricio, a security guard of DLSU Medical Center, also in Dasmariñas, said Velus and another man arrived at the hospital on Sunday night with the victim and requested a stretcher, according to Chief Inspector Marlon Santos, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Cavite.
“The guard said the victim’s body was covered with bruises and was already colored violet. He said it looked like he was really beaten up,” Santos said.
Velus and his companion immediately left, but the farm cooks, Marlen Guadayo and Soledad Sanda stayed behind, he said.
“The two women told police that they didn’t know the two men they came with at the hospital. How could they not know Velus? He was their boss’ son,” Santos said.
Both cooks are now “missing” and were included in the police charge sheet “for covering up the crime.”
Bulalacao said Velus’ father, former Dasmariñas Councilor Ethan Velus, had contacted him to talk about his son’s whereabouts.
Asked if the elder Velus would be surrendering his son to police, he said: “Yes. That’s my understanding.”
SBC may be held liable this time for failing to control its fraternities, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the commission was “alarmed” by a second hazing casualty and reminded the school of its “heavy responsibilities and duties” under Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law.
She directed San Beda officials to explain what sanctions it had imposed on the students charged with the death of law freshman Marvin Reglos in February.
When Marcos failed to contact his family on Sunday after seeking permission to spend the night with classmates for a school project, they started to worry. Barely a month at law school, the family hardly had any communication with his new friends.
Tracing by cell phone
But his lawyer-aunt, Marimier Marcos-Rivera, found a way to trace his whereabouts through the mobile phone she gave her nephew, which is an extension of her mobile phone subscription.
Finding out from the network provider the last number Marcos had called, Rivera took no time in calling that number.
A man named Jason took the call and promised to seek out Marcos.
That was a confirmation that the last number Marcos had called had a link to San Beda, Rivera said.
Despite repeated texts and calls, no update was given to the family so they decided to go to Metro Manila and try to retrace Marcos’ steps.
Meeting with the family
By noon of Monday, a person using a different number sent a text message to Rivera. The sender asked for a meeting with the family at a fastfood restaurant in the Nagtahan area in Manila at 3 p.m.
In between, Marcos’ dad, Mac, had been asking those who sent the text message how his son was and the response was that he was fine.
At the restaurant, three young men met Marcos’ father and Rivera. They were told that Marcos collapsed while having dinner on Sunday after an initiation rite.
Mac said it took a while before the three men could name the hospital where his son was taken. Until the end of the talk, they were saying Marcos was OK, that their group would cover the hospital expenses and that they might transfer Marcos to another hospital.
At about the same time, Marcos was dying at De La Salle University Medical Center in Dasmariñas City. With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan and Jo Martinez-Clemente, Inquirer Central Luzon