Suspect’s silence irks senators probing Salilig hazing death
MANILA, Philippines — Did the suspects stop when they saw Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig dying in pain while they were hitting him with a wooden paddle?
This question was met with prolonged silence from Daniel Perry, the master initiator of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity’s Adamson chapter. He and other suspects faced a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Initially, Perry was responding to questions from Senate probers who wanted to understand how Salilig would later end up naked and buried on an open field in Imus, Cavite, 10 days after attending a hazing rite by the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity last February 18.
Perry confessed they were all hitting 24-year-old Salilig on his legs.
“Hindi ba kayo nakonsensya nung naghihingalo na yung bata na kasama ninyo? Hindi pa kayo tumigil sa kapapalo? At alam nyong bawal yun?” Senator Jinggoy Estrada asked during the hearing of the Senate committee on justice.
(Didn’t you feel guilty when this kid was dying? You did not stop hitting him? And you knew that’s not allowed.)
Perry just nodded, prompting Estrada to pursue his questioning: “Bakit niyo pa ginawa?” (Why did you still do it?)
“Mr. Perry, sumagot! Bakit niyo ginawa, alam niyong bawal, alam niyong may batas laban sa hazing, yung anti- hazing law, sagot!” Estrada demanded.
(Mr. Perry, answer! Why did you do it when you knew we have a law against hazing, the anti-hazing law? Answer!)
The suspect only answered when Estrada pressed him on what he did when they saw the suspect dying.
“Wala po ako noon sa setting nung namatay si John Mathew, sir,” he said, adding he was only present during the hazing rite.
(I was not there when John Mathew died.)
But Estrada went on: “Nung nasasaktan na ‘yung bata, ‘yung biktima, ‘di pa kayo tumigil? Napakasimpleng tanong ‘yan, sumagot ka na Daniel!”
(You did not stop when the kid was already in pain? That’s a straightforward question, answer that, Daniel!)
There was another long silence from the suspect.
At this point, Senator Francis Tolentino reminded the suspects that they could get a lawyer to assist them during the hearing.
“Anong ibig sabihin ng silence mo, ayaw mong sumagot, Daniel?” asked Tolentino, who was presiding over the hearing as chairman of the Senate committee on justice.
(What’s the meaning of your silence; you didn’t want to answer, Daniel?)
“Let the record reflect that Mr. Daniel Perry refuses to answer the questions propounded by Senator Estrada,” he then said.
At the start of the hearing, though, Perry claimed his group was split on whether or not to bring Salilig to a hospital when the latter was having a seizure.
“Sir hati na po ‘yung opinion. Sir, actually ako po ‘yung nag alaga po kay Matt po, malakas na malakas po si Matt. Ako din po ‘yung sumama kay Matt sa CR para dumumi siya, kaming dalawa po,” he said, responding to queries of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
(Sir, we were split on our opinions. Actually, I was the one taking care of Matt; he was very strong. I also accompanied him to use the bathroom; it was the two of us.)