This is not really about me, but about the people I meet, the places I visit and the stories I want to share.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Cries for Cris

The Quezon City Police District has already determined that 20-year old UP Public Administration student Cris Anthony Mendez died due to hazing. But with the prevailing culture of silence at the University of the Philippines Diliman, will we ever know which group is behind the killing?

Everyone is talking about the possible involvement of Sigma Rho Fraternity, except the police. And not even the UP Administration is talking about the fraternity. At least for now.

Some students at the National College of Public Administration and Governance or NCPAG knew that Cris was a neophyte of Sigma Rho. Reportedly, NCPAG Student Council President Ariel Paulo Ante was the one who recruited Cris who is also an officer of the council.

There are also other indications that the fraternity may have been involved. Since the death of Cris, Sigma Rhoans are nowhere to be found in their usual tambayans at the College of Law and in Palma Hall. The fraternity also refused to sign a statement condemning the death of Cris – a statement which was signed by practically all College of Law-based organizations.

But the main missing link in this case is a certain Dr. Francisco Cruz who could shed more light into the Cris' death.

Cruz was the one who brought the lifeless body of Cris to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center early Monday morning. The security guard of the hospital was able to write in his logbook even the vehicle used by the doctor, a Toyota Innova with plate number ZAB-393.

A quick check at the Land Transportation Office a day after the incident, I learned that the vehicle is registered under the name Francisco C. Cruz. We then checked the registered address in Congressional Village in Quezon City and from there we were able to confirm from the village guard that a certain Dr. Francisco Cruz is one of the homeowners.

Poor guard, he could have lost his job. Sorry sir, but I just really wanted to get in touch with Dr. Cruz.

But there is one more thing that could have made matters worse for the guard. While I was talking with him, I “accidentally” saw the home phone number of Dr. Cruz in their directory.

So when I got back to the office, I called up the number but I was told the doctor was not home yet. A day after, I called them up again but to no avail. But because of that second phone call, I was able to confirm from their househelp that the doctor has a son named Mico.

Again, sorry to the househelp, I just wanted to confirm if Mico is the son of your boss.

Before calling up the Francisco household the second time around, sources had tipped me off that the doctor’s son named Mico is a law student and a member of Sigma Rho. After I asked the househelp about Dr. Cruz, I tried my luck asking where Mico was at that time. Take note, I was not yet sure if Dr. Cruz indeed has a son named Mico. But the househelp replied that like the doctor, Mico was not home too.

Dr. Cruz has already established communication with the police and clarified he was not hiding. He said he was unavailable days after he brought Cris to the hospital because he reportedly said he was already condemned by the media.

For the sake of Cris’ grieving family, Dr. Cruz should surface soon. He has to answer these questions:

Why was he the one who brought Cris to the hospital?

Was his act related to the fact that his son Mico is a member of Sigma Rho?

Why did he just leave Cris there?

Is it not ironic that he is a doctor and yet it seemed as if he did not care if Cris was already dead?

Why did he not report the incident to the police?

Why do hospital records show that the body he brought was named “Mark Anthony” Mendez? Did they try to conceal the real identity of Cris?

I am not judging Dr. Mendez. I just want to know the whole truth from him.

In fact, I tried contacting him since Day 2 of this story after I learned that he is a second-degree uncle of one of my co-reporters at ABS-CBN. I respect his decision to keep mum on the issue. But I hope he will clarify things soon.

This culture of violence has to stop and it could only happen if Dr. Cruz starts talking.

Who links to me?