Stiffer penalties against hazing

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


In view of the numerous deaths during fraternity initiation rites, the latest of which was that of Guillo Servando, a student of De La

Salle University-College of St. Benilde who died in the hands of his Tau Gamma Phi initiators, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian filed House Bill 4714, which imposes stiffer penalties for those involved in hazing.

The bill also seeks to repeal Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, which was passed several decades ago.

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The bill is titled "An Act prohibiting hazing and regulating other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 8049, and providing penalties for violation thereof" or the "Servando Act," apparently referring to Guillo.

After my column on fraternities came out last Saturday, somebody furnished me with a copy of the Gatchalian bill. And I find it very useful for fraternity members.

Section 2 of the bill states:

Any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte or applicant as a form of an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be considered as hazing and is hereby prohibited. Hazing shall also include any activity, intentionally made or otherwise, by one person alone or acting with others, that humiliates or embarrasses, degrades or endangers by requiring a recruit, neophyte or applicant to do menial, silly, or foolish tasks. Hazing shall be prohibited at whatever stage of the initiation rites or practice.

For the police and the military, physical, mental and psychological testing and training procedures and practices to determine and enhance the physical, mental and psychological fitness of prospective regular members shall be approved by the Armed Forces and the National Police Commission upon the recommendation of the chief of staff and the PNP Director General, respectively. Meaning, those entering the military and police services have their own criteria before an act is considered hazing.

However, the bill allows the regulation of initiation rites as long as it will not inflict direct or indirect physical and psychological harm or injury to the recruits. But fraternities, sororities and other organizations should secure clearance first from the school administration.

The initiation rites should not last more than three days and should be monitored by at least two authorized school representatives. All existing fraternities should apply for registration with the school administration.

Section 11 of the bill imposes heavier penalties on those involved in hazing. The penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P1 million shall be imposed upon the officers and the participating members of fraternities involved in hazing.

Also, a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P2 million shall be imposed upon officers and the participating members of the fraternity who were intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs when they participated in the hazing. The same penalty shall be imposed upon the non-resident or alumni members of the fraternity who participated in the hazing.

A penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million shall be imposed upon those who actually participated in the hazing, if, as a consequence of the hazing, death, rape, sodomy or mutilation results therefrom. The owner of the place where the hazing is conducted shall be liable as principal.

I hope that if this bill will be passed, rigid physical and psychological acts during fraternity initiation rites will be eliminated to avoid loss of lives.

Ten again, even if the Gatchalian bill has not been passed, may I advise fraternity members to do away with hazing during initiation rites?

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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