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Mendez was unresponsive and past saving when brought to ER: News report from Philippines

NBI to summon UP hazing victim’s fratmates, doctors

09/04/2007

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday said it would summon five more individuals who may yield essential information on the case of the murdered University of the Philippines (UP) student, believed to have died by hazing.

Among those who will be sent subpoenas by the NBI’s Anti-Terrorism Division (ATD) are Dr. Francisco Cruz, Dr. Daphne Gascon, Dolores Geronimo, Ariel Paolo Ante, Fuzzy Clemente and Rina Reyes.

Cruz, a medical consultant, was the one who brought victim Cris Anthony Mendez to the Veterans Memorial Medical Hospital (VMMC) while Gascon was the physician who attended to the victim.

Geronimo, VMMC administrative officer, and the victim’s schoolmates Ante, Clemente and Reyes, will also be called to shed light on the case.

The bureau earlier sent a subpoena to a certain Jonathan Garduce, who yesterday appeared before the NBI.

Garduce is the security guard on duty at the VMMC when Mendez was brought to the hospital during the early morning of Aug. 27.

According to Garduce, around 1:08 a.m., Cruz, along with his son, arrived aboard a Toyota Innova car with license plate SAB-393 and immediately brought Mendez to the hospital’s emergency room.

Minutes later, three more cars arrived at the hospital: an Isuzu Trooper, a Toyota Corolla with license plate WGL-515 and another Isuzu car with license plate XAS-548.

Garduce said those who rode the cars met with Cruz and talked to him before leaving at 2:10 a.m.

At this point, the security guard said he noted Cruz looked “restless and troubled” as the doctor frequently went in and out the hospital.

Around 2:30 a.m., Cruz left the hospital but went back 45 minutes later.

By 4 a.m., an L300 van from the St. Peter Memorial Chapel arrived at the hospital to take the body of Mendez.

Garduce, whose duty at the VMMC is from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., said he even took a glance at the body’s release papers which bore the name “Mark Anthony Mendez,” not “Cris Anthony Mendez.”

The NBI has recently stepped into the case of Mendez after the victim’s grandfather sought the help of the bureau’s National Capital Region (NCR) office.

The NBI’s NCR and ATD said they are now coordinating with the Quezon City Police District and with the officials of UP regarding the case.

Mendez, a 20-year-old graduating student, was declared dead-on-arrival at the VMMC.

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

Meanwhile, earlier news reports said Cruz has a son named “Miko” who studies law in UP and is reportedly a Sigma Rho fraternity member.

The NBI said through the statements of the victim’s friends in the university’s National College of Public Administration and Governance and his co-fraternity members, they would be able to determine if Mendez indeed died because of initiation procedures to the Sigma Rho fraternity.

Rommel C. Lontayao

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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