July 16, 2006

Criminality and Cowardice

Warning:  this is a rant.  It contains language that is not for the faint of heart.

A reader who prefers to be anonymous asked for my comment on this issue (I suppose s/he is a law student because I am referred to as “sir” and perhaps s/he would prefer not to be identified for fear of reprisal).  This is my comment on this issue.

The only way I know how to describe grown men beating each other up in private or public is as a criminal act.  As a criminal law professor, a lawyer, a reasonably rational person, this act is, shorn of any euphemism or candy coating, attempted or frustrated murder or, depending on the fortune of the victim, serious physical injuries.  In extreme cases, it is MURDER (with pre-meditation, treachery and abuse of superior strength).  Ask any first year law student (especially those who have been in my classes) and they will tell you that there is no other way to describe it.  So, pardon my French, but let’s cut the crap:  Beating other people up in the name of a fraternity is simply lawlessness; plainly and simply, it is STUPIDITY!  Beating other people up in the name of a fraternity with hoods is not only lawlessness: it is COWARDICE (if you are “brave” enough to beat someone up, at least be brave enough to show yourself)!

For frat men from the law school who read this blog:  GROW UP! If you think beating other people up in the name of brotherhood makes you a man, then you are utterly and totally misinformed:  a real man knows when he is strong and retaliating or initiating violence does not make you a man.  I have absolutely no respect for a “man” who would retaliate or initiate violence against any person and I never will.  My friends know me to be a stubborn and opinionated person and I am stubborn and opinionated on this: I WILL NEVER HAVE ANY RESPECT FOR YOU FOR SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO BE A REAL MAN!  And, as far as you’re concerned, you have the burden of proof to show me that you are entitled to ANY RESPECT.

“But I’ve never participated in any violence,”  you protest.  HAVE YOU SAID SO IN PUBLIC?  HAVE YOU TOLD YOUR “BRODS”?  HAVE YOU RENOUNCED YOUR TIES TO THESE VIOLENT ORGANIZATIONS?  If you have not, then you are every bit as guilty as those who have lifted a hand, brought down a fist, picked up a bat, fired a gun.  EVERY BIT AS GUILTY!

You feel judged?  Tough.  Tell that to the many innocent victims of the fraternity system’s stupidity.  I’m unfair?  Tough.  Tell that to the parents of Lenny Villa, Dennis Icasiano, Marlon Villanueve and all the other nameless, faceless, unknown victims of hazing, initations rites, and rumbles.


You want to be a real man?   Buy a copy of the best-selling book of ALL TIME, flip to any of the four versions of the Gospel and look up the life of a real man.  You want to be real man?  Don’t look to Manny Pacquiao or any of your fraternity leaders or “brods”, you simply have to turn to the one who is beside you for all eternity—even if you don’t acknowledge Him—our brother:  Jesus Christ.  It’s not too late:  do it now.


Anonymous said...

This whole business with the frats, is not only disappointing to say the least but more of truly heartbreaking for everyone. Nobody can study in UP without befriending (at the very least knowing) someone who’s in a frat.
Lately, I feel different towards my 'affiliated' friends and acquaintances.
Some of my very good friends are frat members. From how I know them, they are some of the most brilliant, decent, and God-fearing people around…but then again I might be wrong.
Some are quite passionate with humanitarian causes…but then again I might be wrong.
I know some of them to be staunch defenders of the Constitution, of laws, of justice…but then again I might be wrong.
I always try to understand the complexities of people, that some people do not like tomato but cannot eat meals without catsup on everything…but even this dual stand on frat violience is beyond complex.
It really makes me wonder how we can protest violence in media yet we (I say we because the 'non-affiliated' prefer to keep quiet to 'keep the peace') can readily accept this as 'nakagawian na e' or 'mahirap ng baguhin ang sistema' or ' nakakabit na yan sa kultura ng UP'. I think I have been apathetic too long regarding this matter. If the only way I can help out is to dissuade all my guy friends to join frats then so be it. I will no longer say 'it's your choice’; rather I will always reply 'do you really want to be involved with those hooligans'.
Big thanks. Again, you capsulated everything everyone wanted to say about this matter. No exclusions whatsoever, especially about the ‘crap’ and ‘stupid’ parts

Anonymous said...

Sir I agree that there is something terribly wrong and stupid about the fraternity system's culture of violence in initiations and rumbles.

What I cannot comprehend is that I have 2 uncles and 3 cousins who are members of different UP frats and hooligans they are not. I can vouch for my relatives that they are principled, idealistic, nationalistic and not lacking in integrity. They are very gentle and loving so I think it's probably unfair to lump all fratmen as violent and criminals.

Ted said...

@anonymous. my brother is a frat man (in medical school) and I know he's not a criminal. but if his fraternity should commit violence, haze anyone or kill anyone in the name of hazing, then I would tell him the same thing: renounce his frat and publicly denounce violence. it is a culture and a culture is nurtured by tradition. alumni should NOT condone violence; alumni should not take residents under their wing; alumni should not use their connections to further themselves or their brods in power (e.g., IBP aka the Sigma Rho monopoly); alumni should speak up when something is wrong, illegal or immporal even when a "brod" is involved. my worldview on this is narrow and simple: if it is wrong, it is wrong. being part of a fraternity does not make it right.

i am sorry if you felt your family was maligned by my rant but perhaps you could tell your family members to lead the way in denouncing fraternity violence or even better, resign their membership and then speak out against fraternity violence.

Anonymous said...

UP should definitely ban fraternities already. All the good that they purport to stand for and do, does not mitigate in any way, all the violence that they have committed in the name of brotherhood.

It saddens me most, that people from the College of Law should be the ones at the forefront of grabbing all the wrong headlines, especially these past two months. This article in the Journal, is just the latest sorry example of what fraternities in the University today have devolved into: http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php?page=news&id=7488&sid=3&urldate=2006-07-20

They do not deserve our sympathy. Over the years, they have been made to sign countless peace pacts by University officials, but each one has quickly disintegrated. Each successive truce has become a farcical attempt by the administration to buy some peace between rival gangs and appease a Diliman community that continues to be shocked by the depths plumbed by fraternities.

They have been tolerated long enough and the administration should finally take concrete steps to disband fraternities within this University.

LegallyChef said...

Sir, what are the measures being taken by professors and the college officials? I really hope that our own teachers, people we look up to, would make a stand against senseless violence (especially because innocent people are getting hurt too).

People Powered™ said...

sir, masyado namang harsh yung reaction ninyo...with all due respect, i disagree with your view on the matter. 1) not everyone is willing to take on the consequences of quitting 2) not everyone wants to quit (I belong to this category) and 3) wouldn't the more realistic approach be for those who are members of fraternities to stay on and change the frat culture?

Anonymous said...

I've never found Teddy Te on the fraternity system to be a good read
at any point in the last five years. Rather, I've always found his thoughts
bordering on the hypocritical.

First and foremost, I take issue with the statement: "Ask any first year law
student (especially those who have been in my classes)...."

At the end of my first semester, I counted that Professor Te had been absent
from at least one out of every three classes, and he called one marathon
Saturday makeup class where he attempted to finish half his syllabus in one
day. Whatever professional or other commitments he had, in the same semester, I
had Dean Pacific Agabin for Consti I and he never absented himself from a single
session despite being on the defense panel in the Estrada plunder case. Rather,
I think he informed the Sandiganbayan of the days he had blocked off for

There is much to admire about Professor Te and I have heard many good things
about his new OLA policies, but as my Crim I professor, I truly felt that he
left much to be desired, and the long-winded speeches about EDSA II and III I
got when he did come to class did not make up. Simply, I could not reconcile
this young, idealistic professor's holier than thou attitude on so many issues
with the extremely simple issue of his repeated absences from class.

Second and more important, I am always disappointed when I hear "good reads"
that take the premise that the fratmen must renounce the fraternity system
because it is focused solely on committing, in Professor Te's words, acts that
range from murder to serious physical injuries. Note that I speak of the
fraternity system in general, and not any one fraternity.

My preferred form of "hazing" was to have new brods check PLJ articles'
footnotes, so I suppose I can sympathize with Professor Te's "good reads"
against people who allegedly go around in hoods and beat up other people.
Certainly, I take more pride in seeing the brods I "hazed" land in the PLJ
roster one or two years down the line, including the new Chair (who I will, of
course, beat up if he also fails to release even a single PLJ issue's complete
print run, and I won't even don a hood) than in, say, asking them how many
people they beat up this week.

Again, however, I cannot accept his blanket statements about fraternities, down
to his blanket call for all frat men to renounce their chosen mode of
exercising their Constitutional right of association. I would not describe
these as hypocritical or disappointing or insulting as I would describe these
as dehumanizing.

Certainly, the fraternity system has its good and bad points, as with every
other organization from the PLJ to NGOs to UP Law itself. To cite a sillier
example, immediately after I joined the Sigma Rho, I noticed that every UP Law
member of a certain other fraternity had abruptly stopped talking to me. After
a month of this, I cornered one of their members in the bathroom, someone who
went to the same high school I did, and asked him what was going on.
Sheepishly, he admitted that they were afraid that I would no longer return
their greetings or give them the time of day, and we all mysteriously returned
to talking terms soon after. The next time I saw this person after he graduated
from UP Law, I was passing by a parking lot where several dozen of his brods
were meeting, and he stopped me to ask for a few references because he was
looking for a job.

So as not to be accused of trivializing Professor Te's "good read," I think you
have to realize that if it is true that fratmen live only to beat the living
daylights out of each other, any supposed thrill derived from this is balanced
by the weightier fear that one of your junior brods will be found injured one
day as a result of this alleged systemic problem. When this happens, you will
wish with your entire existence that you could be in that hospital bed instead
and the junior member you are responsible for was still in the PLJ room checking
footnotes. Professor Te implies that some fratmen protest that they do not
participate in violence; regardless of this line of thinking of his, no fratman
can immunize himself from the fear that one of his juniors will be on the
receiving end of any of this alleged violence.

In sum, the fraternity system is broader than "good reads" like this imply, and
it is unfair to sweep away various fratmen's contributions in one fell swoop of
stereotyping. I have seen this system bring out the best in people and, perhaps
at other times, the worst (and this is not a reference to violence), and its
influence on a person continues well after graduation. Obviously, I have no
regrets about becoming part of this system, warts and all, and would never
renounce my Constitutional right to join it, and shatter Professor Te's
illusions of a "culture of violence" with my much less exciting "culture of

In sum, I continue to willingly invite people I feel are worth inviting into the
Sigma Rho and hope they excel in their chosen endeavors, and I have seen many
brods mature and excel.

Without alluding to Professor Te, I think law school is a time when idealistic
professors waxing poetic about social change and taking strong, even extreme,
stands on issues can truly make an impression on you. It can be tempting to
reduce the world into simplistic stereotypes: "All fratmen are barbarians,"
"Big law firms are dehumanizing," "The system is corrupt."

However, in the end, after the sound and fury passes, I recall the example of
Dean Agabin, who simply went to class and never made a long-winded speech
except to note, as an aside in one lecture on the Commission on Audit, that we
were all being educated with public funds and would eventually be called to
account one day or another, albeit not in a formal audit. He was criticized on
certain moral issues, yet his simple, less flamboyant example made the more
lasting impression on me.

(Specific to the EJT, incidentally, you might be interested to note that when I
ran for Chair in my sophomore year, the guy campaigning for me was from a
"rival" fraternity.)

Anonymous said...

hello oscar tan

Anonymous said...

Ba't pa siya nag-anonymous kung si Oscar yan?

Probably just some brod of his who ill advisedly cut and paste from him. Shrug.

Anonymous said...

grow up, oscar.

that is, if you can.

Anonymous said...

the words are from oscar tan.

he sent the EXACT same message to an egroup.

you should read mark rabe's reply to oscar's post. brilliant. i'd like to post it, but it isn't mine to post. one of the things mark did point out was oscar's "ad hominem" approach. attack the writer first before you attack his views. tsk tsk.

Anonymous said...

The long windedness of the "anonymous" person's post, as well as its ambiguity on the topic, only serves to make us see the difficulty of trying to uhold the necessity of the frat system.

Human life does not deserve to be weighed against achievement; more so, a position in the PLJ will not justify the disappearance of another. The simple reason I give is that the former can still breathe, eat, love, and enjoy every second of this given life, and the latter has nothing but the undergorund's darkness - which he cannot even feel. The former has parents who can rejoice over what he has done; the latter has parents who spend a large part of the day trying to forget what brutality has occured and trespassed into their lives, and in the process crying over a memory that should not have been, mentally poring over captured snapshots in the past - and imagining a future wrecked beyond resurrection.

Professor Te is right. Why is it that many cannot accept the system is mere stupidity? It begins in brawn and revels in it - its rituals, when stripped, just savage echoes of frustrated expressions. And i cannot even believe that one attempted to really make us see the justification by placing life and a PLJ position on a scale.

Anonymous said...

i fully agree with sir te's statements regarding fraternity violence. indeed it is very disappointing to hear about grown men beating up each other. it's utterly stupid and pointless and such actions are more appropriate for cavemen rather than for reasonable and mature law students. you would think they'd have more sense than that.

however, i think it is unfair to imply that the entire fraternity system rotten to the core. if one thinks about it, the ideals of a fraternity are very admirable. it's supposed to stand for a brotherhood of excellence. and decades ago, its members have lived up to these exacting standards. in fact, many fratmen have gone on to become luminaries in their chosen fields. but now, fratmen, instead of being respected by the community, are deemed by many to be the dregs of society - gangsters who beat up people in the name of 'brotherhood'.

i am for fraternities, but not for a group 'hooligans' who masquerade as a fraternity. i am for brotherhood, but not for violence, senseless or otherwise.

let us put a proper perspective into all this. fraternities are not in themselves bad. i think it is the people who now populate them which give fraternities a bad name. if the alumni do not want the name of their fraternity to be dragged through the mud, i implore them to be more careful in the selection of their members and to closely monitor the activities of their resident brods.

Anonymous said...

ted, you should be alarmed that in your hs alma mater, and that should probably spell true for all hs in cdo, the frat system is now an established underground movement. sad no? good thing the admin has phased out c.a.t., which in another carmen based school, has become even more powerful than the school admin. but the proliferation remains.

--kagayanong daku

Anonymous said...

No fraternity will make violence an ideal.When violence results from certain acts of their members, please do not generalize all such acts of violence as frat-sanctioned activities.

As people looking from the outside in, we cannot even begin to understand the workings of their system. Yes, we have to admit that these systems have produced violence and sometimes seemingly senseless acts. But these are also organizations which have reached out and made positive contributions in society and have shaped remarkable individuals.

Like so many institutions around, fraternities have the capacity to do much good and also much evil. There is an adage that the baby should not be thrown out along with the dirty bath water. Organized religions use this argument a lot. Theodore Te wears his Christiantiy with pride and yet, he is part of an institution that has also done much violence in the past few centuries, all in the name of God/ Christ/ religion/church. But nobody is telling him to quit his church and renounce his membership.

So, why don't we just live and let live?

Ted said...

@anonymous "live and let live" -- i hope you are not a law student, or a lawyer; i hope you were/are not my student (although if the other comments are to be believed, you probably are a lawyer and were my student; see thread relating to Oscar Tan). Your reference to my faith and the history of the Church is classic non-sequitur which deserves no other response than that. God bless you nonetheless and because I assume you are a frat man, God bless you and your fraternity and your "brods."

P.S. I mentioned courage in identifying yourself when you want to beat someone up; that applies to my blog. And it just proves my point that fraternities and membership in one do not necessarily develop courage. Do identify yourself so that I can engage in an intelligent (?) debate with you.Do not hide behind anonymity in the same way fraternities hide behind omerta. And this may be ironic to you (if you can appreciate irony),but I do wish you peace--the very peace your fraternity and others similar to yours do not allow us to experience.

P.P.S. And because I have many friends who are frat members, I do pray for all of you that you may experience what it means to be a real man and you may encounter the real man. So that I may be more specific in praying for you, please do identify yourself.

Ted said...

To Oscar Tan: I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog; at least it will give you an idea of what good writing is.

I respect your right to post freely on my blog but if you do want to attack me on an ad hominem basis (as you have in this and presumably many other mailing lists), do me the COURTESY of identifying yourself. NO HOOD, EH? tsk tsk tsk. Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.

Perhaps I may ask "Oscar" one thing: despite my absences, did he learn criminal law 1? Did I bother to explain and not simply have rote recitation? Did I bother to make "sense" of penal law? I do not apologize for my absences during that period but I made sure my students learn.

As for the PLJ and the EJT, let's just say that Oscar Tan does not hold a torrens title to either. I was part of the PLJ and I have refused to take part in it recently because I have seen that it is going the way of the IBP--the sigma rho mafia. And Oscar Tan's "threat" to the new Chairperson is not only infantile, it is downright irresponsible. Get a life.

All in all, I've wasted five minutes of my hectic schedule in refuting an anonymous comment that smacks of Oscar Tan's kind of good writing. I apologize to my other readers that this had to be inflicted on them but as with plagues and boils and other unfortunate things such as fraternities and Oscar Tan, there are many things beyond our control.

Oscar, you may choose to believe me or not, but I do pray for you--that whatever potential you displayed during law shool may be channeled towards more productive pursuits and not to an unproductive and slavish devotion to ideals that are outmoded, barbaric and totally anachronistic. And I wish you the peace that your fraternity and others like yours deprive me and others like me of.

Less power to your frat, more peace to you though.

Anonymous said...

To Sir Te,
I firmly stand with you on your views regarding the entire barbaric system of the fraternity. If there ever was a list of evils that college life can bring, the fraternity and its repercussions on the lives and dreams of the young - specifically its paddles and beatings which break more than limbs and bones - would surely be contending for the top spot, drugs being the other opponent.
Through this blog, i have come to realize that despite its staunch defenders, it cannot truly be upheld even as a necessary thing, for not one person, not even Oscar himself (no, not the Oscar the Grouch - he is a fun, well loved character) can deny that despite the noble sounding names and the ominous sounding titles, and the great labels ( example: warrior, gentleman..), it still reeks of a wrongness that seeps out from its very nature. It smells of blood, and cigarette smoke, and the sweat of boys pretending to be men.
Bravado manifested; definition of manhood undermined.

I join you sir, in your prayer. But then I also believe in the theory that anything in this world has an opposite. Thus I believe that somewhere there is a system that offsets the darkness of the fraternity; and that in a place in this world there is an individual who may be able to balance the walking epitome of blindness and obstinacy that is Oscar Tan. I believe, and I hope.
I also believe in the karmic law. I pray then, that all the stubborn advocates of the frat system, may all be saved just in time, to avoid that train of horrendous, terrible misfortunes that heads your way.

May you Sir, continue the enlightenment that mere repetition of provision, and mere presence in the classroom, cannot bring.

ishouldbestudyingforthebar said...

guys, leave off Oscar

He might not have ever read this blog to begin with. The text of Professor Te's post against fraternities has been a favorite forward in various mailing groups lately, and he probably wrote that piece intending it as an answer just within his group. From there, it appears that some would-be defender of fraternities decided to lift it verbatim and plunk it here. It does have a cut and pasted look.

People Powered™ said...

Grabe naman yung backlash against fraternities. Ganun ba talaga kasama ang tingin ng mga tao sa aming mga fratman?
Ayaw ko sanang mag comment dito pero di ako makatiis, sorry sir. Totoong magulo ang buhay fratman, minsan masaya, minsan mahirap. Pero it does not have to be about violence. What saddens me the most siguro is the very low expectations people have. Probably they're not to blame for it, fraternities in UP have had a very long history of violence. But I think other people, those who do not have fraternities, can do a lot of good in helping remove the culture of violence. People say that the change should come from fraternities themselves, malamang yan nga ang pinakamagandang mangyari, pero wala pa ring masyadong pagbabago apparently. Well, I think instead of just condemning fratmen, kausapin ninyo sila para magbago...marami naman kayong kaibigan o kakilala na may frat. Nagiging iba kasi ang pag-iisip ng fratmen minsan, lalo na when you're surrounded by brods and all of you are supposed to have certain shared beliefs when it comes to the frat system. These people lose contact with the real world, may sariling mundo ika nga, and being in their own world makes them act, well, differently from when they were unaffiliated. Reach out and challenge their views, but wag kayong magalit sa fraternity members, magalit kayo sa mga ginagawa namin.

Even Peter Pan grew up (at least, sa Disney movie).

cj said...

mr. people powered, i'm sorry pero, yes, ganyan talaga tingin ng mga tao sa fratmen.
i have no qualms about having fratmen as friends (my boyfriend is one). ok naman sila usually, individually. but when they get together, argh talaga. maybe that's why my significant other does not bring me to frat events often. it's just too much for me to bear.
in any case, this reason: "Nagiging iba kasi ang pag-iisip ng fratmen minsan, lalo na when you're surrounded by brods and all of you are supposed to have certain shared beliefs when it comes to the frat system. These people lose contact with the real world, may sariling mundo ika nga, and being in their own world makes them act, well, differently from when they were unaffiliated." IS NOT A VERY GOOD REASON to explain why fratmen do the things they do. for goodness' sake, we are human. we are the ONLY creatures in this world who are given the gift of being able to think on our own!!!!!!
and don't you think sir Te and all the other people who condemn frat violence are doing exactly this: "Reach out and challenge their views, but wag kayong magalit sa fraternity members, magalit kayo sa mga ginagawa namin."? we don't condemn fratmen but, exactly, what they do.

Ted said...

Qpeople powered: I think you may have reached an epiphany of sorts and I thank you for being open to that epiphany--that frats and fratmen are not viewed in the same way by non-frat men as they are viewed by frat men. One thing that turned me off from the get-go in ANY frat that tried to recruit me is the ARROGANCE and THE ABSOLUTE BNBSS (BILIB NA BILIB SA SARILI) syndrome. you just have to look at all the sigma rho posters plastered all over to appreciate that; you just need to look at the "connections" mentality that prevails--Alpha Sigma has a lock on housing bec of Mike Defensor who used to be housing "czar"; upsilon has a lock on the VP's office bec of Jesse Andres; SR has a lock on the IBP; and I could go on and on and on. But do you see these ftats CONDEMNING their "brods" when they steal, cheat, lie, kill, defame, or otherwise destroy this beautiful country and culture? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Omerta. "magalit kayo sa ginagawa namin" - precisely. I have said it and I'll say it again--my brother is a fratman; I count many frat men among my dearest friends; in my community, I look up to a frat man--I DONT HATE YOU, but I HATE YOUR FRATERNITIES AND THE SYSTEM IT ENGENDERS IN YOU. C.S. Lewis said this of sin and sinners, love and hate: "hate the sin, love the sinner." I can say this too of fraternities and fratmen.

If your frats want to do a service to the country, stop trumpeting your alumni's "achievements" as if they were God's gifts to the filipino people conveniently sweeping under the rug all the many things they did or had to do to get those achievements. Instead, let your right hand not know what your left hand is doing; unlike the pharisees, stop saying, "thank God I am not like that tax collector." instead, be righteous, not self-righteous; live according to one Man's plan--and this does not refer to your Archons, Illustrius fellow, LC or whatever else you may call them. Say instead, "thank God for this opportuntity to be of service." Say instead, "I will give out of my poverty, not out of my abundance." And say, in the face of evil, corruption, unlawfulness and vice, to your "brods": My loyalty to you stops as my love for my people begins.

Then, perhaps, this backlash will end. It starts with one voice, one person, one choice. People Powered, do you want to be that one voice, one person? Do you want make that choice?

Anonymous said...

Just because you join a frat does not mean that you lose your individuality or your free will. Yes, the current reality is that frats perpetuate violence, especially those in law school. But each member can make a difference. You can stop and think about your actions. You can decide if what you are about to do is correct. To the fratmen: Go back and study the principles that your frat used to stand for. Just because some upperclassmen are doing it or acting a certain way does not mean you also have to follow them when you become the seniors. Why learn the bad examples? As a person also affiliated, I make it a point that I treat ALL members and non members with the respect that every human being deserves. That is my contribution to helping the image of frats and sororities. We all have a responsibility to prevent violence, even if this means that you won't be so popular with your friends for a while. But so what right? If they are real friends, they won't take it against you eventually.

Anonymous said...

i had sir te for crim1 and yes, he was absent a number of times but i learned more from him than from some of my other profs who never missed a class. maybe "anonymous" missed the days sir was present. otherwise, he'd know how great a teacher he is. quality over quantity people.

People Powered™ said...

If I may be so bold to ask for your advice sir, what would you do if you or a friend or brod (assuming arguendo you belonged to a frat) were attacked? The school administration and the legal system drags its feet. The Student Disciplinary Tribunal takes years to come out with decisions, and the courts take even longer, and in many instances the cases are simply dismissed (for lack of merit or dahil yung accused maraming binigay na merit, as one joke goes). In the meantime, nothing will deter the attacker from again attacking you or another friend or brod. In fact, if an information is filed you'll become even more of a target. I know and understand full well (from a practical standpoint) that extrajudicial measures (which many fratmen view to be deterrents) will only serve to fan the flames and ensure more incidents of violence, leading to a further escalation of the conflict. On a moral level, I also believe that two wrongs do not make a right. It seems to me to be a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Sobrang limited ng options, and they leave a lot to be desired.

Ted said...

@people powered: perhaps it might be better if you simply approached me in school to talk about this in greater detail than a post might allow; although i do appreciate doing it in this way that others might also benefit from this exchange.

I agree with you totally--two wrongs do not make a right. That is precisely the principle behind one of my anti-death penalty arguments. I also agree with you that it is difficult to not want to take action against an someone for attacking a "brod" or someone close to you. That is being human; however, many times, our problems arise simply because we act all too humanly--meaning, we give in to passions, anger, rage etc. I use "we" because I am not exempt from this-many times, my mouth gets the best of me and I end up hurting people but I repent and do try to make amends.

In the frat system, it's always "my brother right or wrong" and hardly ever apportionment of accountability--at least not officially. There are many gray areas to a "brod" being attacked--was there provocation? was there any incident that could have given rise to provocation? It shouldn't be an eye for an eye, a lump for a lump.

I know my thoughts sound simplistic and you may dismiss them as being inappropriate and naive because I am not a frat man. But perhaps the value lies precisely in that I am not a fratman and therefore see the forest and not the trees, to borrow a tired cliche.

Not wanting to call a stop to war simply because face will be lost is counterproductive; that will guarantee that not only face will be lost but perhaps lives. Should there be an attack, even if it is deemed unprovoked, take the best step--forebearance; scriptures say, "turn the other cheek." Not literally; it calls for us to accept even if we are in the right. That is difficult, even radical; yet, that is the only way we can transcend being human and, in so doing, try to put a stop to this all-too human instinct to escalate this unproductive cycle of violence.

Thanks for your posts; I do hope to be able to sit down one of these days--over coffee (my treat)--to talk about this. In the meantime, God bless you.

Horatius said...


they say that sperm cells are better off than lawyers: unlike the latter, the former has at least a one in a million chance of being human. The same has been said of fratmen (and of most other stereotyped groups for that matter).

I do not know of the other fraternities, but mine has guided me from a path of mediocrity to one with promise; it has also blessed me with the most loyal of friends. One needs only to look at the individual trees to see that the forest - widely believed to be cursed - is in fact of fertile soil, and that the seeds planted in it grow to be the most majestic of trees. These trees are as diverse as they are relevant: in the UP college of law, they are in top of their respective batches, they graduate with latin honors, they are editors - if not chair or vice chair - of the Philippine Law Journal, they represent the school in competitions (both here and abroad), they serve the students as officers (in class as well as in both local and campus-wide student governments). The same can be said of those in the other colleges of the university: They graduate with latin honors, they serve in student government, they bring prestige to the university through their respective sports. On the national level, these trees have grown into justices, senators, congressmen, commissioners, respected lawyers, and partners of the most prestigious firms.

Sadly, these trees are overlooked by those who - with the type of prejudice that drive bigots and chauvinists - condemn the forest as cursed, and all the trees in it as tainted.


Anonymous said...

Eh pano naman kasi how they got there -- lakad-lakad lang, palakasan, approach the brods on top, wheeling and dealing, under the table deals, or if not, outright violence in the form of frat wars. The culture itself is corrupt. Kaya nga di na umasenso and Pilipinas, panay fratmen na lang kasi ang nasa pwesto.

I'm not saying only fratmen wheel and deal but the point is, why add to the corruption by creating/joining a frat? You can find loyal friends elsewhere, and these friends can bring out the best in you without inculcating warrior-like behavior.

Anonymous said...

case in point: one frat rigging the ejt elections. i've never seen so many guys in one ejt meeting. if we can't even be men of integrity here in law school, i wonder what will become of us after.

Anonymous said...

sir te, aren't you flattered that fratmen are now using your blog to post blind items? but why attack the plj? at least the fratmen are doing something productive there. maybe you really hate oscar tan, but i just failed the plj exam and it wasn't easy so you have to give him credit.

Ted said...

@horatius: you might as well have donned a hood. again, please sign your name if you want to insult me. and please check your grammar as well as your syntax.

p.s. bigot and chauvinists are BIG words; i don't remember saying anything against women, so "chauvinist" doesn't apply; as for bigot, are you a foreigner or perhaps your "brods", because I don't remember again making racist remarks. or did you intend to mean that no criticism of any sort could be levelled against your frat or the frat system in general because you are so "accomplished"? now, that's being bigoted.

p.ps. I hope you're not in the plj; please do check your grammar and syntax--you may ask Oscar Tan to do so, he's quite good at that, you know.

Ted said...

@ anonynous plj "flunker" - "why attack the plj? at least the fratmen are doing something productive there. maybe you really hate oscar tan, but i just failed the plj exam and it wasn't easy so you have to give him credit."

I am proud to have been part of the PLJ when I was a student; I was vice chair of the board. I have not attacked the plj, I just said I don't want anything to do with it while a mafia is in charge of things.

"flunking" the PLJ is not the end of the world; take the exam again.

as for Oscar Tan, I take exception to his thinking that he and SR have a torrens title to PLJ.

as for being flattered, i would rather they engage me in a sober discussion about why they are fratmen rather than hide behind anonymity and attack me in this blog or through the many mailing lists and egroups; but i guess that's asking for too much.

People Powered™ said...

Aba, defensive mga rhoans dito. Paano ba naman kayo di makakapasok sa PLJ kung ang paper na sinusubmit ninyo eh ginawa with the help not only of junior brods who you force to be absent from class to do research(the so-called footnoting OT was referring to) for the senior brod taking the exam(ang masama pa diyan mga freshmen na bagong sali at nahihirapan na nga sa law school eh dinadagdagan pa ninyo ng trabaho), but worse, pinapa-edit at hinihingian pa ninyo ang ibang senior/alumni brods ng ideas regarding what you write in your paper when you're supposed to do the paper without any help. Ang masama pa diyan, you keep blaming Migs for PLJ's shortcomings last year to divert attention from the fact that may brods naman kayo sa PLJ board and they are equally, if not more, responsible for the much delayed release of the PLJ. Proud na proud pa kayo, pinagyayabang niyo yan palagi, sus.
Anonymous, ranking yung sa PLJ exam. Maybe you didn't fail, maybe nadaya ka ng ibang tao at nakuha nila slot mo sa board because you had the moral scruples to do the paper by yourself even if nobody can really prove anything if you received help in doing the paper. In any case, wag mong ikahiya yun. Be proud you were brave enough to take the exam and rely on your own talents rather than on the talents of other people.
Sir, can't relate sa scriptures, haven't read them, belong to a different religion myself, one which espouses pacifism and yet has practitioners who engage in the most violent of acts in defense of that religion. And yes, I asked you for your advice precisely because you are not a frat man. Paano kung walang provocation at inabangan ka na lang sa bahay mo at midnight by five people wearing bonnets and armed with lead pipes and rumor is that the only reason na inabangan kayo sa bahay is because you're a "convenient target" kasi malapit lang bahay niyo at "prominent target" kayo dahil lang sa visible kayo sa law? Paano kung after the incident na kayo na nga yung agrabyado pero you still try to exert self-control pero biglang enemy no. 1 kayo sa listahan nila kahit na you still try to stay peaceful and non-confrontational? Eh paano pa kung ang daling gawin sa kanila ang ginawa nila sa iyo because you know their schedules, routines, addresses, hangouts, etc? Tapos friends you talk to tell you na they'd look at you differently pag bumawi ka, pero they'd understand if you acted on your vengeful emotions at binawian mo yung humabol sa yo(may qualifier pa na "wag kayong magpapahuli"). What if people actually have been expecting such a reciprocal attack? Sad...disappointing din, yan yung pinakasanhi ng una kong statement dito na ang sama talaga ng tingin ng mga tao sa fratmen. Even people who know you quite well will still expect you to "act like a fratman," when in fact you HAVE been acting like a fratman but your actions are different from their concept of standard fratman behavior.

On an unrelated issue, ano kaya ginawa or gagawin ni OT sa brods niyang responsible for the delayed release of last year's PLJ board, I mean, after remarking na gugulpihin niya yung bagong EIC pag walang nilabas na PLJ issues? That's something that one brod really shouldn't do, or even threaten to do (privately and much less publicly) to a brod. Where's the love, eh? :)

"Yes, it's a brotherhood, but concentrate on being a brother rather than being a hood."

Anonymous said...

"case in point: one frat rigging the ejt elections. i've never seen so many guys in one ejt meeting. if we can't even be men of integrity here in law school, i wonder what will become of us after."

SO true... sir the sigma rho has infilitrated even the EJT, which is supposed to be the bastion of neutrality and fairness in the college. last year, thru the machinations of sigma rhoans, out of the four officers two were from SR and one was from DLS.. which is why when the EJT wanted to penalize a certain candidate na brod, yung three officers campaigned actively against it, overpowering the remaining officer.. and now, the same thing has happened AGAIN. sigma rhoans are once again at the helm of the EJT by rigging the elections, and all the other EJT members were just too blind to see it.

why doesn't the college ever learn?

Anonymous said...

the college won't ever learn. everyone knows oscar tan and his brod jude ocampo forced agabin to make him plj chair.

Anonymous said...

SR rigged the last lsg elections too.

Ted said...

@anonymous SR bashers: this blog is not intended to a shield for you either. you are no different from those who put on a hood by using this forum to bash SR but hide behind anonymity. if you have anything to contribute in terms of the issue--which is fraternity violence and the culture it perpetuates, you are welcome. but this blog is not intended to be a forum for unsubstantiated charges that should have been ventilated before the proper forum. while i have spoken strongly against SR's mentality in controlling certain institutions and groups, i am not, by any means, limiting it to SR; similarly, the examples i cited were by way of illustration. so, i would ask you to stop using this blog to attack SR or any other fraternity and by doing so under a cloak of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

rhoan pala si sir jude?

LegallyChef said...

uy di ata sumali ng frat si sir jude.

kdg said...

Off-Topic: Sir Ted was my Crim 1 professor. Yes, he did not attend class as religiously as other professors did, but that didnt prevent us from learning. I don't know about the anonymous poster who had issues with Sir Ted's absences, but I don't have any. I learned what I think I need to learn in Crim1 in the days Sir Ted was in class. If the poster had issues regarding Sir Ted's absences then, he should have made a complaint a long time ago, rather than whine in this forum and attacking the person.

On-Topic: I agree with most of what Sir Ted has posted in his blog regarding fraternities and the culture of violence. Having joined a fraternity a few years before graduating from college and entering law school, I have been exposed to countless rumbles and other forms of violence in the fraternity system.

However, I disagree with the method of resigning and condemning. Sir, even if fraternity members have done something wrong - hurt someone, even killed another person, we dont just leave them alone and cast stones. Rather, we condemn their actions, tell whatever truth we know, but still stand with them and see to it that they are given their chance to change for the better. I guess it's the perpetual optimist in me who sees the goodness of people. Cliche as it may sound, but the best way to reform a system is from within the system itself.

I have to admit though that I haven't done much in helping reform my fraternity in terms of erasing violence or at least lessening it. I have been appointed to influential national posts, but I wasnt able to go beyond the usual talks and reprimands, trainings and scare tactics.

If only, ours was a perfect world where fraternity members can live in a culture of tolerance and respect.

On a lighter note though - wishful thinking - how I wish my fraternity was able to take advantage of Brod. Bill Clinton's presidency and monopolized Visa applications in the country - ang saya sana! ;-)

bughaw said...

on the names of the frat system's victims . . . that would be dennis venturina (not icasiano). the icasiano student, who was also a hazing victim, was a relative of mine - alexander miguel icasiano.

Anonymous said...

in fairness to OT, he and banuar whined about sir te's absences since their first year. OT wasn't able to take advantage of Brod Bill Clinton but he sure used his brods to get a recommendation for Harvard from Ate Glo herself. Whattaguy. 8-D

Anonymous said...

hindi fratman si jude ocampo. alpha phi beta po si dean pacifico agabin at hindi alipores ng sigma rho. kung gusto mo po maglabas ng inggit sa frat o gumawa ng mga kuwento na hawak ng sigma rho ang buong college of law, huwag po sana idamay ang alpha phi beta. baka mga sigma rho rin ang gumagawa ng kwento na kayang kaya nilang dayain ang plj para masabing sikat sila. sana nagpakita nalang sila sa pi sigma para walang duda. maraming salamat po.

Anonymous said...

parang nawala ang usapan sa frat violence.

Anonymous said...

i've been reading this little comment thing for a while now and i must say it's amusing that law students who should know better than attack people instead of ideas use a professor's blog to do so. people powered, an SJ fratman, has certainly made use of sir te's blog to whine about his lot in life as a poor identifiable fratman while trying -and really, failing- to subtly insult people who belong to other frats.

i'm all for the ideals (brotherhood, loyalty, etc) of fraternities, as long as they're actually lived by fratmen, though i question the need for them more often than not, having seen a fair share of my friends get diverted from their lives' paths due to frat membership.

let's not attack people, let's not attack a professor's opinions by attacking his teaching skills, let's not use HIS blog to insult other people.

in defense of the lsg this year, i'd like to point out that there is no sigma rhoan officer. the president, though a delta lambdan, is still a leader worthy of her position. let's not belittle her achievements and her hard work and dedication to making law school a better place by saying her win was due to cheating (also, wasn't a sigma rhoan her opponent?). i also say this for the other officers who are not even affiliated. they worked hard for their posts. let's not insult them this way. fight fair, ladies and gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

^KDG If I am not mistaken you're a member of APO, and you're from 3E.

So you still lay claim to your achievements as officer of a fraternity you unscrupulously humiliated when you admitted that you are gay. How can you even talk about fraternities, when in the first place you have no rightful place in one? Do you really think members from other fraternities would listen to your calls for change when you can't even reform APO? For sure, you do not command any respect from APO members, because you're a faggot. Shameful.

Ted said...

@anonymous Isagani Cruz clone: You are obviously a law student and so this should be fair warning. I expect a written apology directed to me for using this blog as your platform for bigotrty within 2 days; otherwise, you'll see just how powerful a law professor can be with academic freedom.

If there is one thing this blog celebrates, it's freedom; if there is another thing it celebrates, it's accountability. Both of which you violated with impunity, and hidden in a cloak of secrecy and, yes, cowardice.

I don't know who KDG is but who is the one who is shameful? One who gay bashes through another's blog and hides behind anonymity or one who openly admits to sexual preference despite societal condemnation of such? I think that's a no-brainer even for you.

Arnel C. Valena said...

Dear readers of Professor's Te's blog,

My name is Arnel Carlos Valena. Professor Te was my professor in Criminal Law and I think he taught the subject the only way it should be taught: with clinical precision. I barely made his standards but they were fair and he was an effective teacher.

I'm a Sigma Rhoan. My fraternity has established ties with the Gawad Kalinga foundation to finance some of its projects. Last August 5, my brods, both residents and alunmni, were at a Gawad Kalinga site in Antipolo. Some of us brought our families along. We spent the day painting houses and hauling hollow blocks by forming a long human chain. It was very hard work especially for my more senior brods who were no longer used to manual labor. My wife and 4 kids had a field day though painting and planting. We had lunch with the residents of the site and they were all very thankful.

No one was punched, kicked, beaten, hazed in any way. Nobody wore a hood.

I believe the Upsilon Sigma Phi is also helping GK. Other fraternities have their own socio-civic projects.

I just wanted to share this simple story.

God bless.

- Arnel