Taking A Stand

Honasan, Marcos and A Death to Hazing

In my Philippine Daily Inquirer column today, “A death– yet again” I wrote about my thoughts on the recent, senseless and violent death of Andre Marcos at the hands of his San Beda “brothers.” 

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Mel Honasan, 19 in 1973

A couple of years ago, I interviewed Alice Honasan whose son, Mel (the senator’s youngest brother) died from brutal hazing rites in 1973. His death shattered the family, and although years later Alice would lose two other sons, it was Mel’s death that left her devastated.

I will never forget her reply when I asked her how she coped with the death of her other sons. She paused, shrugged and said, “Parang naubos na ako kay Mel.”

I’m sure it’s not that she loved the other sons less, but that death at a young age, so sudden and violent, and through senseless means, shatters the heart and spirit in ways no words can describe.

While reading the reports about how Andre’s family had frantically searched for him that evening he went missing. I recalled the shock and grief that came over the Honasan family that evening when Alic, and her husbnd, Col. Romeo Honasan had just returned from watching a movie

and they were met at the gate by Mel’s other Bert, who was probably in shock himself, when he came rushing to meet his parents and tell them that he had just received a phone call from someone saying that Mel had just died. Violence has no place in our society. Brotherhood can be fostered through other more peaceful, and constructive means.  As lawyer Theodore Te asserts in his thought-provoking piece “Death and Brotherhood” … 

…those who belong to fraternities and have gone through hazing — and who now occupy positions of power, authority, or influence, whether in or out of government, must live out that counter-culture by showing that it is possible to inculcate the deepest sense of brotherhood, the most abiding sense of commitment, the greatest loyalty by means other than trial by ordeal.

Today, Andre Marcos shall be laid to rest. May his death and those of countless others like him who gave up their young lives not go to waste. For those who lost family members in the same senseless way, it is time to take a stand and speak up on behalf of your loved ones, in doing so, you honor their memory and give a deeper, higher meaning to their loss. In the process, you take part in helping shape a safer furture for your children and grandchildren, sparing them from having to endure the pain of losing a loved one so young and so violently. 

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