Cris Mendez

It was just before my anthropology class when I learned Cris Mendez was dead. I didn't recognize the name at first. But my hands got moist and cold when, upon reading a newsletter, I saw his picture, smiling, his hair combed like Jose Rizal's, and his aura so alive no one would imagine that he was but a cold corpse.

"I know him. I know Cris," I told my seatmate in a hushed voice. "We were classmates in Geog 1." That was three years ago. We were both wide-eyed freshmen then, curious of what UP would be like. He was good in class. Always present, hardly ever late. And who'd forget the field trip we had in Corregidor? Great times, great laughs.

Now I'm wishing I had the power to turn back time to tell Cris, "Don't bother joining that frat. You'll simply get yourself killed." I know he'd listen because he always did. But I can't, can I, because one cannot travel through time, let alone bring the dead back to life.

It pains me to imagine Cris being harassed, tortured, and maimed by the people he wanted to call brothers. Blindfolded, he must've screamed every time a hard piece of wood smashed his buttocks, broken his bones, injuring his ribs. Did he cry foul when he felt it was going beyond the limits? Did his so-called brods-to-be even hear him out when he did?

Cris was my age when he died. At 20, he could've graduated from Public Administration, enrolled in a good law school and defended the oppressed. Or, he could've married a great girl and have kids. Or run as the next Philippine president, for all we know.

Death through this kind of violence is senseless. Does physical torture really forge a brotherhood that would last a lifetime?

But it's too late for Cris now, isn't it?

We mourn for his death but we fight for justice. We fight for the abolishment of hazing. Quixotic, yes, but not impossible. In the end, justice will be served.

One thought on “Cris Mendez”

  1. I hope UP students will continue to ask for the truth in what really happened. Let's all call for reforms in fraternities, and demand true and lasting changes.

    I also wrote an entry in my weblog in memory of Cris Mendez. I hope you can find time to read it and share it with your friends. I posted it here: http://lestercavestany.com/?p=11

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