September 28, 2003

The Oakwood mutiny was not only an all-PMA affair. It also became a reunion of brods from UP’s Alpha Sigma Fraternity. Four Alpha Sigmans figured prominently on both sides at Oakwood—Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, housing czar Michael Defensor, Philippine Information Agency head Renato Velasco, and—the least known of all—Gringo’s senior staff, Jesus Fernandez.

More Alpha Sigmans surfaced in the post-Oakwood politicking. Daniel Gutierrez, a batch mate of Velasco, is now Honasan’s lead counsel, while a younger fraternity brod, Ruel Pulido, is on the defense team of the Magdalo group. Completing the picture is columnist Randy David, who has become one of the Magdalo group’s most articulate defenders.

Alpha Sigma has come a long way since former Kabataang Makabayan chairman and Communist Party of the Philippines Politburo member-turned-Marcos ideologue Nilo Tayag established it in 1964.

October 26, 2003

As a UP Alpha Sigman, let me add to your Sept. 29, 2003, issue’s “Inside Track” item on “The Alpha Sigma Connection.”

But first a few corrections. Atty. Daniel Gutierrez (73-A) is not a batch mate of Philippine Information Agency head Dr. Renato Velasco (71-B). Alpha Sigma was established in 1962, not 1964–which was when the Kabataang Makabayan was established by Alpha Sigma charter member Nilo Tayag (62) and others later associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Just to complete the batch data of those “brods” mentioned in your piece: Sen. Gregorio Honasan (66-A), Secretary Michael Defensor (87-J), Jesus Fernandez (74-A), Atty. Roberto Rafael Pulido (82-D), and Prof. Randolf David (63).

According to news reports on the Oakwood pre-negotiations, Defensor had earlier called up brods who were members of Honasan’s staff, Atty. Paul Redublo (78-D) and political consultant Fernandez, “as a fraternity brod and concerned citizen.”

Not only Pulido but his law firm of “Del Rosario Mendoza Tiamson Gabriel and Pulido,” all Alpha Sigmans of the ’80s, is on the defense team of the Magdalo group.

And to complete the picture, David’s batch mate is Ernesto Macahiya (63), also of the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, who is charged with Honasan et al. for rebellion/coup d’etat.
All this has not divided the fraternity. It has even strengthened the ties among brods coming from three different decades of batches in the fraternity.

The way the Makati crisis played out last July 27, particularly the role of certain persons like the aforementioned frat brods, seems to say that one can be part of the problem and also part of the solution, whichever side one looks at it. That may as well be said also of university fraternities.

Beyond rumbles and hazing, high-level university fraternities may yet become instruments of peace, unification, and national reconciliation. In the case of Alpha Sigma, still another challenge might have to do with the in-country leader of the CPP, Benito Tiamzon (69-D).

Your piece says, “Alpha Sigma has come a long way….” It also has a long way to go.

UP Alpha Sigma 73-C
18 Mariposa St.,
Cubao, Quezon City