“Hindi pa rin,” is what Twitter user @MustaNaUpsilon would tweet everyday. The phrase is a reply to a question posted by the same user : “Has Upsilon been sanctioned?”
November 2018 saw the height of fraternity-related violence in campus, both in physical form and online, when members of the Alpha Phi Beta (APB) fraternity and the Upsilon Sigma Phi (USP) engaged in a series of altercations. A few days after the rumbles, USP became embroiled with another scandal involving an allegedly leaked conversation among its members.
But as January 2019 comes to an end, the case between the two groups remains pending with the Student Disciplinary Council (SDC).
Showdown at high noon
According to official UP Diliman Police (UPDP) fact-finding reports, the two-day altercation began on November 13 when around 25 USP members arrived at the West Wing Tambayan Complex stairs of Palma Hall and allegedly taunted APB members. The former shouted, “Anong sinasabi nyong mga bakla kami?,” and the latter responded, “Umakyat kayo dito!”
An altercation ensued between the two groups, ceasing only when security officers came to the scene.
Students, allegedly APB members, were rushed to the University Health Service (UHS) for treatment of minor injuries. But before physicians can attend to the injured students, one student with a head injury walked out of the UHS, and boarded a black Honda Civic. The car, followed by a white Toyota Corolla, sped in the direction of Laurel Street.
The following day, November 14, saw a renewed altercation between the two fraternities. Around lunch time, a black Mica Isuzu with two USP members and a personal driver was suddenly blocked by a red sedan along Roces Avenue heading towards Roxas Avenue. An unknown number of occupants armed with baseball bats alighted from the red sedan and started smashing the rear window and right rear side window of the black Mica Isuzu.
Afterwards, a red Strada pickup truck and a gray Innova stopped at the side and rear of the black Mica Isuzu. Several occupants of the two vehicles, also armed with baseball bats, alighted and joined the first group in smashing parts of the black Mica Isuzu. After two or three minutes, the attackers boarded the vehicles, and fled in different directions: the red sedan turned right along Roxas Avenue, the red Strada pickup truck turned left along Roxas Avenue, heading towards Africa Street, while the gray Innova fled towards an unknown direction.
After the attack, the black Mica Isuzu attempted to leave the campus by heading towards the direction of Katipunan Avenue but the gate at Magsaysay Avenue was already closed, with several security elements already waiting. They escorted the black Mica Isuzu to the UPDP station.
Later on, occupants of the black Mica Isuzu identified their attackers as APB members.
There were reports that students heard a gunshot from the general direction of the incident while the altercation was taking place. The UP administration, however, denied this in a subsequent media statement. There was no mention of such gunshot in the UPDP reports.
UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan made an implied confirmation of the gun shooting incident in his opinion column published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “But some outrage continued from parents and alumni concerned about the safety of their children in UP, especially because there was gunfire involved, apparently from the bodyguard of one of the students,” Tan wrote.
Various student councils and organizations expressed their outrage against the violent incidents.
“The safety of the University has been compromised, and we cannot tolerate silent and complicit response from the administration,” UP School of Economics Student Council said in a statement.
UP Alliance for Responsive Involvement and Student Empowerment (ARISE) also expressed their outrage and said “The UP community does not deserve to feel unsafe within their own campus, and these antiquated and offensive values are not welcome in the university”
“This culture fueled by toxic and fragile masculinity, rooted in macho-feudal patriarchy, has no place not only in this university but also in society,” they added
Meanwhile, the Office of Student Regent (OSR) cried out accountability to the UP administration,”…we compel members of these fraternities and no less than UP President Danilo Concepcion himself to account for their crimes and own up to their senseless acts of violence.”
“This office also continues to urge UPD Chancellor Michael Tan to stay true to his word, take full action, and not let this issue be simply covered up,” it added.
Not long after the two-day altercation between APB and USP, a leaked conversation allegedly from some USP members made rounds on social media.
Dubbed as “Lonsi Leaks,” Twitter user Upsilon 100 (@100Upsilon) posted several screenshots of more than 40,000 messages allegedly among USP members. These messages contained unsavory and offensive remarks against women, LGBT+ community members, and indigenous peoples. There were also slurs and hate speech hurled at specific students, faculty members, and University personalities.
Not long after the screenshots were posted, the Twitter user gained thousands of followers, and received more than 500 retweets and likes per post. The account also posted a public google download link that contained the full conversation, making the conversations available for anyone to download.
UP Babaylan said it “strongly condemns the fraternity-related violence that occurred on November 13 and 14, 2018, as well as the sexist and heterosexist speech that occurred on November 13.”
They also revived their call from two decades ago “Bakla ako. May angal?” as response to the homophobic remarks displayed during the Nov. 13 incident.
A unity statement by some College of Fine Arts organizations were posted by their student council. It said “In addition to the macho-feudal culture highlighting misogyny in these fraternities, the College of Fine Arts strongly condemns the objectification of women–wherein a woman is viewed as not someone who should speak-up and only to please.
“We must remember the words of Lorena Barros, “The new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant… She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history,” they said.
Resignations and disciplinary actions
A complaint against those involved from the two fraternities is already lodged before the SDC, alleging that the involved students created and/or engaged in “disorder, tumult, breach of peace, or serious disturbance such as, but not limited to, rumbles, within the University premised, resulting in harm to persons” in violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
The UPDP and the SDC refused to divulge any other information, citing the University’s policy on data privacy.
On the other hand, APB and USP has remained silent on the rumble and “Lonsi Leaks” issue. But following the altercations and the leaked messages, several USP and APB members of the University Student Council-Diliman (USC-Diliman) tendered their resignations from the USC, while others were removed as disciplinary actions were meted out.
In its General Assembly on November 23, USC-Diliman Chairperson and USP member Yael Toribio resigned from the council, followed by University Councilor and APB member Rein Gallardo.
Councilor and USP member Ian Serrano filed his USC resignation during their General Assembly on December 1. He also claimed that he resigned from his fraternity one week before resigning from the council.
Meanwhile, USP member and Councilor Jeremiah Tomas was expelled by the USC with a unanimous vote from the council. Totalling to 27 councilors and college representatives voting for his expulsion following the series of fraternity-related violence.
(Editor’s Note: In the spirit of fairness and accountability, the Editor-in-Chief, a member of the Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity, recused himself from all internal discussions concerning the issue.)