The Inbox

A former fratman gives a glimpse of “The Brotherhood”

Marc Andrei RamosBy Ellen Tordesillas

THE death of San Beda Law student Marc Andrei Marcos due to hazing once again causes pain and  frustration to many who can't  understand why fraternities have to be brutal and violent in the screening of their members.

Raymund Narag, a  member of Scintilla Juris fraternity when he was studying at the University of the Philippines, was imprisoned for almost seven years in connection with the death of another  fratman, Dennis Venturina of Sigma Rho, during a rumble at the U.P in 1994.

He has written several articles posted in his blog (www.raymundnarag.wordpress.com)  which he shares to the public for a better understanding of what he calls "the brotherhood".

Hopefully, these senseless deaths  would stop.

The introduction of  one of Narag's articles, titled "My Honor," gives a glimpse  of how his life had been turned upside down by the tragedy:

"I will graduate with honors. This April 20 and 21, 2002, the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) and the University of the Philippines will confer upon me my bachelor's degree Cum Laude. I will march tall and proud together with other graduates seven years younger than my batch.

"I should have graduated April 27, 1995. Unfortunately, just three days before the commencement exercises, a warrant of arrest was issued against me. I was allegedly part of a youthful brawl that caused the death of a young promising man. Together with other 10 other accused, I voluntarily surrendered to police authorities and submitted myself to the courts. Instead of a diploma, I showed my parents the papers taking me away from their custody and placing me under detention. Instead of marching to the stage with the applause of friends and relatives, I dragged my feet to the prison cell. My parents figuratively died. My family uprooted.

"I languished in jail for six years, nine months and four days. I endured the full length of a criminal prosecution, or more appropriately, persecution. I patiently waited for the day of freedom, counting the days, weeks, months, and years as they come one by one. I silently bore the humiliation of getting out of the cells with handcuffs. I chivalrously let go the love of my life when she asked a time out because she had been too pressured to defend our situation. I accepted my fate peacefully— knowing that there is a reason for everything."

Raymund E. NaragIn his article, The Brotherhood", Narag said, "the fraternity system has become a big black hole that sucks these young promising men to their graves. The fraternity as an institution, despite its noble and lofty ideals, has degenerated into becoming a barbaric gang. Internally, its organizational structure has become so hierarchically feudal, with the head becoming the law and the members losing their individuality. Externally, it has imbibed the culture of the tribesmen and treats other tribes as an unforgivable "enemy".

More excerpts: "The seeds of violence are sown into the heart of a frat man the moment he enters the fraternity. The rites of passage required before an applicant can be considered a "brother" is a ritual replete with physical and psychological violence. By testing the mettle through pain and humiliation, the new members are inducted to become blood brothers.

"The physical violence impinged on frat member during initiations becomes the rational for the acceptability of the other forms of violence. The members accept the violence as a normal practice. "

Narag said discussed the Code of Silence among frat members that makes difficult making accountable those responsible for the death of the those young men due to hazing.

"The fraternities anchor their strength on secrecy. Like the Sicilian code of omerta, fraternity members are bound to keep the secrets from the non-members. They have codes and symbols the frat members alone can understand. They know if there are problems in campus by mere signs posted in conspicuous places. They have a different set of communicating, like inverting the spelling of words, so that ordinary conversations cannot be decoded by non-members.

"The code of silence reinforces the feeling of elitism. The fraternities are worlds of their own. They are sovereign in their existence. They have their own myths, conceptualization of themselves and worldviews. Save perhaps to their alumni association, they do not recognize any authority aside from the head of the fraternity."

Narag said "Not all frat members however share the inclination or penchant for rumble and violence. In a fraternity there are more cool heads than hotheads. Perhaps in every ten members, there could be eight cool heads and only two hot heads. However, the cool heads are the silent majority in the fraternity. They seldom speak during meetings and are not elected during frat elections. Their opinions and views on how to run the affairs of the fraternity are not properly and openly articulated. The cool heads have no identity in the frat. They are lost in the multitude. They do not know each other. They do not even know that they exist. Their longing for peace is gobbled up by the voice of the hotheads."

He encouraged  victims to  speak now.

" The victims are not mere accidents. They are flesh and blood who would carry the bitter experience throughout their lives. They should break the code of silence and voice their concern over the growing barbarism of the institution that they belong. The victims should speak saying that all those who ever held a paddle and lead pipe are all guilty to the fate that had befallen them. The victims must initiate the voice: the enemy here is not the "other" fraternity, the enemy is ourselves. The culprit is the culture of violence that engulfs the fraternity system."

He  ended his article with "Here is the first voice."

Update on Narag:

Last May 4, 2012, I marched in the graduation ceremonies of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Pending the successful defense of my dissertation, I will receive a doctoral degree in criminal justice. From a maligned ex-detainee in one of the most crowded jails in the Philippines, I will be called "Dr. Narag," with specialization in prison administration. I wish to share my story as testimony to the triumph of the human spirit. It is a testimony of God's love.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • US ambassador slashed and bloodied in Seoul attack
    US ambassador slashed and bloodied in Seoul attack

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on his face and arm in Seoul on Thursday by a blade-wielding assailant opposed to ongoing US-Korean military drills. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which left the ambassador bleeding profusely as he was rushed to hospital, and said that President Barack Obama had spoken with him. Witnesses described how a man with a blade concealed in his right hand had lunged across a table at Lippert at a breakfast function at …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options