- In August 2007, newspaper reported what seemed to be yet another sad incident of fraternity violence. Cris Anthony Mendez, a twenty-year-old student of the University of the Philippines (UP), was rushed to the hospital in the early morning hours, unconscious, with large bruises on his chest, back, and legs. He passed away that morning, and the subsequent autopsy report strongly suggests that his physical injuries were most probably the result of “Hazing” (the term colloquially used to refer to initiation rites in which neophytes may be subjected to various forms of physical abuse). What exactly happened remains an open question, as none of those who were with him that night came forward to shed light on what had transpired. Needless to say, none of them came forward to assume responsibility for the death of Cris.
- Even as the leaders of the Sigma Rho fraternity publicly denounced the death of Cris, those members of theirs who had been with him that night vanished, avoiding and refusing to cooperate with legal authorities. Meanwhile, UP students and the general public clamored for justice. In a move that surprised the student body, the UP chancellor called on all fraternities to justify their continued existence. Meanwhile, the case of the tragic death of Cris Anthony Mendez was left unresolved. It remains that way up to this day.
- No one knows just what exactly happened. No charges have been filed, no definitive testimony has been forthcoming. But there is more to this for us than just a criminal mystery. Pondering on the death of Cris, we may find ourselves asking questions such as, “What is the value of one’s life?” ”What exactly were the wrongs done to Cris by his so-called fraternity brother?” or perhaps even “Is there any good to fraternities?” These questions that concern good and bad, or right and wrong—and these are questions concerning value—are the kind of questions that we deal with in ethics.
Reflect and answer the following questions:
1. What is the value of life?
2. If you are a member of this fraternity, what will you do?
3. Based from the given story, what is the concept of morality that this fraternity advocates?
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