Thursday July 19, 2018

Senators favor total hazing ban in fraternities

SENATORS want clarity in the bill that would revise the Anti-Hazing Law that would totally ban any form of hazing in fraternities.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that the current law seems to allow hazing so long as notice is given.

"But the way it is worded, it appears that way. So I'm in favor of totally banning hazing," Drilon said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros called on school administrations to eliminate hazing and other forms of violence and abuse from fraternities.

Hontiveros favors revising the country's Anti-hazing Law by pushing for an amendment calling for a total ban on all forms of hazing.

She urged schools to be pro-active in investigating and addressing "under the radar" cases of violence before they escalate into an incident wherein a student is seriously injured or worse, killed.

She also urged schools to be on the lookout for cases of fraternity-related sexual assault and/or harassment.

"The letter and spirit of the existing law doesn't explicitly ban hazing. It is wishy-washy on the said practice. In fact, it recognizes the violent practice as long as the organization performing the hazing rites has sent a written notice to the school administration," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros called for a revision of Section 4 of the law which penalizes the inflicting of physical injuries arising from hazing.

"Hazing is not only physical abuse but any form of initiation that subjects the neophytes or pledgees to undignified and inhumane situations, including mental and psychological stressors that may have adverse impacts on the mental health of the abused," she said.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson, had started its investigation into the death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Castillo III.

Castillo's death is suspected to have been the result of hazing during the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity. The Senate is set to revisit Senate Bill 199, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 2016, authored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, which seeks to prohibit hazing.

Lacson noted that Aegis Juris means "Shield of Justice."

"With the progress of the ongoing investigation, I fervently hope that the shield of justice will not turn out to be the shield from justice," Lacson said.

Gatchalian proposed revisions to the Anti-Hazing Law with Senate Bill 199 to make sure that reforms necessary to protect the country's youth from barbaric acts of hazing are finally passed into law. (SunStar Philippines)