THE hazing tragedy at the PMA has resonated quite sadly in the life of a fratman at the UP in Diliman, Quezon City. After his name came out in a chat group online as among those who hazed several neophytes of the Sigma Rho Fraternity, along with the shared image of a brutally-bruised neophyte, he committed suicide. He was not prepared to come to terms with his own guilt and the accompanying public ridicule for taking part secretly in an unlawful act.
While hardened criminals handily manage a wretched mind, college students suddenly introduced to a culture of violence are stricken by conscience and its torments. This serious concern should be confronted before fratmen eventually imbibe a lifestyle of denials and lies to try to get things right in their lives.
Back in college at UP in the 1970s, I was active in hazing frat recruits. Until one day while I was hitting a neophyte with a hard wood I stopped and felt rebuked for the first time since I joined the Tau Gamma Fraternity by one of its tenets, “First of All, Do not Harm.”
It was an exceptional moment when I was suddenly seized with compassion for a fellow man on whom I was inflicting bodily harm for no clear reason at all. At best, I became acquainted early on with tribalism and gangland factionalism while figuring in a series of senseless fraternity conflicts.
Since then and after college graduation I have never joined any physical or psychological initiation and strongly urged my frat brods to desist from any form of hazing. (It is customary for fraternity alumni to be invited to initiation rites to be shown proudly how their younger brods have become the beasts they used to be.)
Since the Anti- Hazing Law of 2018 does not provide for arbitrary command responsibility as a direct consequence of hazing and serious maltreatment at the PMA, very worried parents of incoming cadets are in a dilemma on how to help protect their sons from the various forms of hazing, which they fear will resume after the media and public vigilance soon dissipates. It is not enough for the new superintendent and the commandant of cadets to say they are taking effective measures to prevent violence by the upper classmen as well as instill a close fellowship among the cadets.
These parents should form an advocacy group against maltreatment and hazing at the PMA and other military and police academies. They should demand direct accountability from the superintendent and the commandant of cadets and their immediate removal, as well as the filing of administrative and criminal raps against them, in the face of any complaint or report of physical and verbal hazing or maltreatment against them. They should also demand more visits from families so the cadets’ social and personal esteem is not overcome entirely by the academy’s intensive and rigorous demands on their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
It would be a mesmerizing experience to attend the healing crusades in Manila of Rev Dag Heward Mills, the founder of nearly 3,000 churches of the Lighthouse Chapel International in 80 countries. His outreaches in Africa, India and In Central America have drawn hundreds of thousands. He preaches that “the Gospel is the power of God for our salvation.”
Cancer, kidney and heart patients had been healed during his services at the Cathedral of Praise on Taft Ave. for the past two years. Those suffering from demon-oppression and depression were also delivered from a deep sense of failure and despair. Once, his prayers led to an OFW who mysteriously disappeared in Jeddah three years before to call up his daughter here in Manila.
His message that “miracles and manifestations of the Holy Spirit are the only chance to reach the world for Christ” does not sit well with traditional Christian and Catholic churches which have not been inclined to believe that miracles and healings are still for today. I have personally witnessed several miraculous healings of Rev. Mills at the Cathedral of Praise. He comes from Ghana, Africa and has turned his back from being a medical doctor in London to an evangelist because, as he would always say, God wanted him to help humanity this way. He will be in Manila again on Oct 11-13.