The oxymoron that is the Philippines’ university fraternity community


Suffice to say, everyone recognises that patronage is the single biggest issue that plagues Philippine politics. Nothing moves and nothing gets done unless an initiative is brokered through its movers’ unofficial patronage network. Thus it is quite surprising that a key pillar of the cancer of patronage politics — university fraternities — has enjoyed blanket immunity from the protest crosshairs of the country’s top “activist” leaders.

Small surprise, considering that many politicians are lawyers and most — if not all Filipino lawyers — were fratmen in their university days. It has long been recognised that a lawyer will not get anywhere in his or her career unless he or she is a “brother” or “sistah”.

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In short, in a community of professionals whose jobs are to ferret out the truth in the course of resolving conflicts using a rigorous thinking process that is hinged on logic and evidence, an elephantine unspeakable roadblock hinders that noble job objective. When an emerging truth comes into conflict with “brotherhood” or “sisterhood”, Truth becomes the preferred casualty.

It is quite astounding that fraternities and sororities in the Philippines have escaped the scrutiny our “activists” reserve for their traditional whipping boys. Yellowtards screech about the spectre of “authoritarianism” ad infinitum. Martial Law Crybabies wail about the return of the Marcosian “dark ages” to their respective cliques of like-minded inbreds. Commies carry on about the latest president’s sinister conspiracy with America to hoodwink the Filipino people. And the broader community of liberals wax emo poetic about how everything about modern society is so unfair to the neighbourhood dukha.

Yet, there seems to be no acknowledgement that at the root of all this is how at the cradles of the future members of the nation’s brainstrust — the Philippines’ elite universities — is entrenched a deadly cancer that begs an obvious cure. Thanks to every single prominent lawyer-turned-politician (not to mention those turned prominent leaders in industry and business) the routine whitewash of fraternity-related crime has all but been institutionalised. The Philippines’ criminal justice system is effectively rigged to give out get-out-of-jail passes and its legislature predisposed to inhibit anti-fraternity legislation thanks to this ingrained conflict-of-interest.

Did we mention, by the way, that both the late former President Ferdinand Marcos and, his nemesis, the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr are not only both fratmen they are “brothers” in chi-chi Upsilon Sigma Phi? Figure that bizarreness out! Brothers first before what is right, right brods?

And this is why fraternities enjoy their impunity licenses today. They are free to wreak havoc on university life with their petty “rumbles”, their murderous hazing rituals, and their established social pressure machines applied to incoming university freshmen that assures them a steady supply of fresh neophytes to paddle raw and pepper with cigarette burns. An entire nation led by alumni of Upsilon, Sigma Rho, APO, Aquila Legis, and, yes, Aegis Juris can only be one that routinely excuses crimes committed in the name of the bizarre “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” espoused by these oxymoronic organisations.

The solution is, as with most Philippine “problems”, quite obvious. Political will, however, is not all it will take to effect these obvious solutions, unfortunately — because the will of the politicians involved is caught up in an untenable conflict of interest of their own doing.

7 Replies to “The oxymoron that is the Philippines’ university fraternity community”

  1. Former Sen. Joey Lina’s Anti-Hazing Law is useless! And he even made a controversial law before about the protection of the informal settlers in our country, both been created by him around the early 90s & being part of the Yellow Armies. And this is the end result, our country is full of BS due to this “Yellow” Laws. Both Luna & Anti-Hazing Laws should either be abolish or revised into a heavy penalty for those who’ll violate it like hazing & squatting. Heck, if hazing should be included on the proposed Death Penalty Bill to be penalized for death who are convicted to that crime, then hazing incident will be reduced & many violators will be convicted. But for now it is punishable by life imprisonment & only 1 suspect had been convicted on this controversial Anti-Hazing Law & there are 300 something cases that are still in pending on court, some of them was acquitted on the hazing case! Justice in the Philippines is now on sale unless if President Duterte will perform a TRUE revolution in our country & make a radical change in our government & laws, then judiciary system in our country are not corrupt & dirty.

  2. That law firm said to be in control of Philippine politics, that still around? And perhaps that’s also based on frat connections. It guess frats are still around because they’re significant power players in political affairs with the strings they pull. Who knows what connection they have with LP and other questionable entities on the scene.

  3. Hazing is a sacred ritual of fraternities and sororities. Its like a ritual passage of their brotherhood or sisterhood. It is also done by Organized Criminals, and Organized Gangs. A member who wants to enter a Crime family, like the Mafia is initiated. They have to commit a crime, before they are accepted in the Crime family.

    So, fraternities and sororities have something in common with crime families, organized criminals and gangs.

    Patronage politics, or simply patronage conduct in our professional entities, are entrenched in our body politic and culture of corruption. Fraternity brothers and sorority sisters take care of each other , beyond the walls of the campus, after graduation.

    Fraternities and sororities will continue, as long as there are students. This will not be the last death of a neophyte, entering a fraternity.

    1. For gangs and criminal groups, it made sense. They are making sure that you’re ready for the things you are about to do once you’re inside their circle. They have to make sure their members don’t “chicken out” on the job.

      For frats, it doesn’t make sense. They make brutal initiation rites “just because”, or if you don’t want that answer then hazings are there “show how much you REALLY want to join” aka your dedication. Alternatively, it could be there as a sort of filter, that not everyone can join. Where it doesn’t make sense, however, is that the initiation rites are not related to what they would actually do as professionals. If frats are a group of “elite” lawyers, for example, then their initiation rites should be to top the bar exams (maybe top 25) or something. Or perhaps treat it as a scholarship like you have to have an average GPA of at least 1.25 (or 4.0 in some places).

      With these hazing rites, what they would have shown is that you have to be physically and psychologically able to endure the brutality of their torture, and those who die are “not worthy”. All they’ve accomplished is to show that they’re really no different from common criminals.

      1. Joining the fraternity & sorority is truly a bloody one unlike joining in a Rotary or Lions Club & its really part of their “traditions” & having a commitment to them for a long, long time. And to know more why they do that in the 1st place & it won’t disappear soon in spite that there’s an existing Anti-Hazing Law or even better, hazing will be punishable to death in our country, here’s a link from that I read it today on why hazing is still use on fraternities & sororities.

        If I were you, if you don’t want to become a victim of hazing especially for those college & law students out there, IS NOT TO JOIN FRATERNITIES & SORORITIES IN THE 1ST PLACE!!! This is what should had been done to a UST Law Student, Horacio Castillo III before, he shouldn’t joined Aegis Juris Fraternity in order to save his live & pursue his dream of becoming a GOOD LAWYER in our country if he’ll be graduating a Civil Law degree in UST. A prevention is better that cure as what the old saying.

  4. There is a portion of the 1987 Constitution that forbids political dynasties. However, when it was time to write and insert the implementing language, mass quantities of Tandhuay had already been consumed and that essential part of the Constitution was neglected.

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