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Monday, June 17, 2024

‘Pamilya Sagrado’ attempts to present two sides to frats, hazing

Piolo Pascual. Image: Instagram/@piolo_pascualPiolo Pascual. Image: Instagram/@piolo_pascual

Piolo Pascual. Image: Instagram/@piolo_pascual

Actors Piolo Pascual, Kyle Echarri, Grae Fernandez and Tirso Cruz III, lead stars of the drama series “Pamilya Sagrado,” all agree that violence through hazing and other forms of initiation rites should be banned in all fraternities. However, they also said they understand why a lot of men still decide to join frats.

“Pamilya Sagrado,” which premieres on June 17, shows characters who navigate the complex world of fraternities and what it means to go against your morals for the sake of protecting one’s reputation.

Republic Act No. 11053, or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, prohibits the use of hazing in fraternities and other organizations. However, because of weak enforcement, the law fails to stop deadly hazing. In fact, Congress is now looking into new amendments to the law in relation to the death of Philippine Merchant Marine Academy cadet 4th class Jonash Bondoc in July 2021, reportedly during initiation rites in Zambales.

“I believe in doing something if it’s for the common good,” said Piolo, when asked whether he would join a fraternity if ever he’d get invited to one. “It really depends on what I have to do. Of course, I don’t believe in hazing. There are other ways.”

Piolo is Rafael Sagrado, who, as governor, is forced to continue his family’s political reign. The Sagrado family’s reputation is put in great danger when the death of a student due to hazing gets traced to a fraternity group led by Rafael’s son Justine (Grae). With everything at risk, the Sagrados go to great lengths to protect their reputation.

Meanwhile, Kyle said he does not see himself joining a fraternity in the future. “But because I entered the world of frat men for this project, I was able to see through their eyes. I’ve realized that there’s still beauty to it, that tradition is important,” he began.

Embedded in the system

“It’s good that hazing is no longer legal in our country. This is also why I think there are different ways to do hazing. You don’t necessarily have to hit someone with a paddle. While I have no plans of joining one, I see why other men would, because of what Grae and I learned through this show.”

Kyle plays Moises, a simple yet persevering guy with big dreams, while Grae, as Justine, feels the pressure from his family to succeed in life. Despite their differences, they eventually form an unbreakable bond.

For Grae, joining a fraternity would really depend on one’s chosen career path and goal in life. “I consulted a lawyer friend, who joined a fraternity and did the whole process. He said he really needed to do it. It’s all about the system that we have today,” he explained.

“This has been done through generations so if you want to really be integrated into, let’s say, law, just like my character, you have to do it to get the advantages in life. But when it comes to the process, I think hazing or excessive violence is not needed,” Grae stressed. “Isn’t it that, in life, we test everyone? We test relationships, we test trust, but we don’t necessarily use violence in those situations. Why then do we have to do this in a fraternity, especially within an educational environment? The point of education is to learn as much as you can, and meet as many people as you can.”

Strong bonds

Like the other guys, Tirso is not for hazing, but would consider joining a fraternity if he’d been offered to join. “I understand that the grand thing about being part of a fraternity is the bonding, the solidity of friendship that grows as time progresses,” said the actor, whose character, Jaime Sagrado, is one of the leaders of the fraternity Gamma Sigma Xi.

“I hear stories from those who started fraternities. Most of them now have successful businesses, some of them are lawyers, but the bond among them remains strong—as strong as when they started it,” added Tirso. “Fraternities are more about relationships. It’s the same with us artists. When we work on a series, this usually takes us two to three months. Our bond becomes stronger as the show progresses. I imagine that in fraternities, the bond is much stronger because they’re together for years. Whatever they have sworn to follow, they honor it. Maybe I would join one, except for the hazing part.”

Andoy Ranay, who is codirecting the series with Law Fajardo and Rico Navarro, said they understood that fraternity and hazing are sensitive topics, and so they tried to tackle them in the most sensitive manner.

“We make sure to follow what was written in the script. As filmmakers, we also did our part by doing research. One wrong instruction to our artists, we could get questioned. We make sure that everything we present is truthful. Since the fraternity in the series is fictional, it has its own rules. That’s what our consultant is saying, too, that all fraternities have their own set of rules,” Ranay explained.

Humanity, morality

The program’s head writer, Genesis Rodriguez, said they made sure to present all sides of the story. “When you watch the series, you will see that not everything that fraternities do is bad. We make sure to balance our presentation,” he added.

Andoy added that the show “is about humanity, the humans of a fraternity. While there are those who follow blindly, there are also those who question their moral values. It’s like when they become part of the fraternity, they slowly realize that they no longer feel comfortable with what they’re doing because, true to their characters, they are really good people who simply made some wrong decisions in the past.”

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“Pamilya Sagrado” premieres on June 17, at 8:45 p.m. on the Kapamilya Channel, A2Z and TV5. The series also streams 48 hours before its TV broadcast on iWantTFC.

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