Hazing News

Doctor, fraternity recruiter in hiding as police pursue leads in hazing death case: update

Link to story: Police confirm UP student died from hazing

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Homicide Division on Saturday confirmed that University of the Philippines (UP) student Chris Anthony Mendez died from severe injuries he sustained in an apparent hazing incident, ANC reported.

The QCPD said autopsy results showed Mendez succumbed to fatal blows to different parts of the body.

“Lumalabas dun maraming tama, may fatal blow sa likod (It showed multiple blows including a fatal one to his back) classified as mauling. Mauling is hazing,” said Chief Inspector Lino Banaag of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDG).

Meanwhile, authorities said Dr. Francisco Cruz, the doctor who brought Mendez to the hospital has contacted them.

“Nagkaroon sya ng fear dahil na-condemn sya (He got scared because he was condemned) but he will come out in the open soon,” Banaag said.

Cruz is the father of UP law student and Sigma Rho fraternity member Mico Cruz.

ABS-CBN News learned that the younger Cruz was with his father when Mendez was brought to the hospital. The network tried to get a statement from him but he refused.

Doctor faces charges

Police on Friday said charges of obstruction of justice were being readied against Dr. Cruz over his refusal to surface and shed light on the death of Mendez.

Senior Superintendent Frank Mabanag, QCPD-CIDG chief, said investigations showed it was Cruz who rushed Mendez to Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) early Monday. Mendez was declared dead on arrival.

Reports said Mendez was already pale and unresponsive when he reached the hospital, and that he had bruises all over his body, particularly on the back of his arms and thighs.

Cruz is reportedly a VMMC consultant and a member of Sigma Rho fraternity.

His identity was traced by the police through his Toyota Innova (XAV-393), which he used in bringing the victim to hospital.

Police believe Cruz had gone into hiding after he had filed an “emergency leave” after the incident.

VMMC has declined to issue a statement on Cruz’s alleged involvement in the death of Mendez, who was reportedly being recruited to join the Sigma Rho fraternity.

ABS-CBN News called up Cruz’s home in Congressional Village in Quezon City on Thursday but the woman who answered the phone said he has yet to return.

Ariel Paul Ante, chairman of the student council of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, meanwhile, has also disappeared.

Ante was identified as the one who recruited Mendez into the fraternity.

The 20-year-old Mendez was a graduating Public Administration student.

Mendez, who hailed from Tiaong, Quezon, is the eldest in the family.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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