September 1, 2007. I had refrained from posting about the death of Cris Mendez the past few days, because it might be misconstrued as a politicized statement, no matter how genuine my intentions might be. First, because I am a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi; second, because I’m an officer of STAND-UP, where the implicated fraternity is associated with during campus elections. A knee-jerk reaction (even from me) might have caused more trouble or problems that the ones already at hand. But this shall go beyond my affiliations. I have been asked why I haven’t blogged about this nor said anything. Let me then at least speak as a UP student, and perhaps, as a new recruit myself. (I was recruited late January this year).
I only knew Cris as one of my classmates in English 10 when we were both freshmen. He never seemed to be the type of guy who would join a fraternity. So was I, anyway. I assume he never thought he would one day join a frat, the same way I never imagined joining one for my first three years in UP.
Eventually, however, on our last year in UP, we both found ourselves invited into these formations. For me, it was because I was convinced and I still believe in the ideals of the fraternity I have joined, and in the relevance in general of fraternities in the university and in society. For Cris, I do not know how the implicated fraternity recruited him, perhaps he was convinced the same way I was, or perhaps as some accounts claim, he was forced, I really don’t know.
Nevertheless, I am one with everyone who is deeply saddened, depressed and enraged by Cris’ tragic death. I am one with your prayers. I don’t know what else I can say that hasn’t already been said. Some people, though they share in the present outcry, surrender to what they believe will be an inevitable slump in the issue. Let that serve as a challenge to us all not to forget Cris Mendez’s death, the way other alleged frat-related deaths have been burrowed. Let us seek for justice till it has been served. Let this not be, however, serve as an opportune time for some people to lynch on ALL fraternities. The historical contribution of fraternities in our university and in our country’s history cannot be argued. Countless of our bureaucratic leaders on one side and heroes, martyrs, and even activists and rebels, on the other side, are fraternity members. Fraternities were borne out of progressive ideals, and of ideals of service to the university, the country and the people. I wish all fraternities should continue, even intensify, living up to their ideals.