Upsilon Sigma Phi
Founded in 1918, the Upsilon Sigma Phi (ΥΣΦ) is the oldest Greek-letter organization and fraternity in Asia. It is the oldest student male-exclusive organization in the University of the Philippines that has been in continuous existence since its founding. It is also an exclusive fraternity where membership is by invitation only. The Upsilon Sigma Phi has two chapters, a combined UP Diliman/UP Manila chapter and a second one in UP Los Banos. Its vast network of influential alumni both in public service and private enterprise has led several publishers to cite it as the most prominent and influential fraternity in the Philippines.
|Upsilon Sigma Phi|
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City
|Motto||We gather light to scatter|
|Colors||Cardinal Red |
|Chapters||2 (U.P. Diliman/U.P. Manila and U.P. Los Baños)|
|Members||3,500+ total lifetime|
|Headquarters||University of the Philippines|
It was formally organized on November 19, 1920 in a meeting held at the Metropolitan Restaurant in Intramuros. Four months later, on March 24, 1921, the Greek letters ΥΣΦ standing for the initials of the name "University Students Fraternity" was formally adopted. In the same year, the fraternity also completed its organization with rituals, motto (We gather light to scatter), colors (cardinal red, old blue). The head is known as the Illustrious Fellow and the first honorary fellow, University Regent Conrado Benitez, was inducted into the Fraternity. He wrote the Upsilon Hymn which later would be sung before and after every formal meeting.
World War TwoEdit
During World War II, some members took the field. Among the Upsilonians who gave up their lives were Wenceslao Q. Vinzons (former UP Student Council President, youngest delegate to the 1934 Constitutional Convention, and Governor of Camarines), Agapito del Rosario (Mayor of Angeles, Pampanga), and José Abad Santos (Acting President of the Philippines, Secretary of Justice, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), all of whom were executed for refusing to swear allegiance to the Japanese Empire.
Others stayed behind, most noteworthy of them was President Jose P. Laurel (President of the Philippines), who put his life at risk in protecting the interests of the Filipino people while suffering rebuke from his critics who accused him of collaboration with the Japanese.
The Marcos PresidencyEdit
The administration of President Ferdinand E. Marcos saw Upsilon members lead opposing sides in the leadership of the Philippines. Fellows with the administration were President Ferdinand Marcos, Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino (who went on to become Philippine Vice President), Supreme Court Chief Justice Querube Makalintal (who after his retirement would be elected Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa), Secretary of Education and former UP President Onofre Corpuz, Batasan Speaker Nicanor Yniguez, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Alfonso Calalang, and industry magnate Roberto Benedicto among many others. Leading the opposition were Senators Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., Gerardo Roxas, Salvador H. Laurel. Mamintal A.J. Tamano, and Domocao Alonto.
Waging an ideological war were Upsilon members with the left Melito Glor and Merardo Arce, who both served as the commanders of the New People's Army. After their deaths, the New People's Army Southern Luzon and Mindanao Commands would, in their honor, be named the Melito Glor Command and the Merardo Arce Command respectively. Fighting for Muslim rights and greater autonomy were Senators Domocao A. Alonto and Mamintal A.J. Tamano.
The death of Gonzalo Mariano Albert on July 18, 1954 due to initiation-related hazing involving Upsilon Sigma Phi is the first recorded hazing death in the Philippines. Mariano was allegedly mauled by other fraternity members after failing to do an assigned task.
President Ramon Magsaysay created the Castro Committee on October 1954 to investigate the death. The eponymous committee was headed by Executive Secretary Fred Ruiz Castro joined by UP faculty members Arturo Garcia and V. Lontok. They submitted a 116-page report to Magsaysay and found hazing to be the cause of Albert's death. They also recommended the expulsion of 4 officers of Upsilon, suspension of 25 members for one year, suspension of 19 neophytes for a semester, and reprimand of 3 other members. The report also called for reforms on university regulation on fraternities and sororities and the prohibition of all forms of physical initiation. The report was not acted upon.
On November 14, 2018, members of Upsilon Sigma Phi and Alpha Phi Beta fraternities were involved in physical confrontations at Palma Hall in the UP Diliman campus. The next day, another incident, supposedly involving guns, occurred along Magsaysay Avenue inside the same university. An official statement released by the university administration however stated that what occurred was a "car chase" and not a "shooting incident" between the warring fraternities. “The incidents are being investigated and charges will be filed against those found to be criminally liable. The penalties for violence are severe, and can include expulsion from the university,” the statement added.
Upsilon Sigma Phi leaks scandalEdit
On November 20, 2018, an anonymous Twitter account, @100Upsilon, posted unconfirmed screenshots and archives purported to be from the group chat between members of Upsilon Sigma Phi. The conversations contained misogynistic, homophobic, racist, Islamophobic, pro-genocide, pro-violence, and pro-Martial Law content. The disclosures attracted widespread attention, and garnered significant backlash. Numerous organizations and personalities across the country called for accountability and abolition of the culture of hegemonic masculinity within the fraternity's ranks.
Its alumni roster consists of a diverse roll of members in public service, industry, medicine, military, and academia among others. In government alone, the fraternity has produced 3 Philippine Presidents, 2 Vice Presidents, 15 Senators, 15 Supreme Court Justices, 65 House Representatives, 19 Governors, 4 Solicitor Generals, 6 AFP Generals, 1 AFP Chief-of-Staff, and 1 BSP Governor notwithstanding numerous more that have led executive departments and agencies, judicial incumbencies, local government units, and other constitutional offices. Beyond public service, its roster also includes a number of National Scientists, National Artists, and pioneers in research and medicine.
Notable people known to be Upsilon Sigma Phi brothers include:
- Ferdinand Marcos – 10th Philippine President, Senate President, and Ilocos Norte Representative
- José P. Laurel – 3rd Philippine President, Senator, and Supreme Court Justice
- José Abad Santos – Acting President of the Philippines, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- Arturo Tolentino – Philippine Vice President, 12th Senate President, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Representative from Metro Manila
- Salvador Laurel – Philippine Vice President, Prime Minister, Senator, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs
- Joker Arroyo – Senator, Executive Secretary and Makati Representative
- Richard Gordon – Senator and Tourism Secretary
- Francis Pangilinan – Senate Majority Floor Leader
- Benigno Aquino Jr. – Philippine Senator and Governor of Tarlac
- Wenceslao Q. Vinzons – World War II war hero, provincial governor of Camarines Norte
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