The House of Representatives has moved to ban and criminalize hazing after a law student at the University of Santo Tomas died during a fraternity's initiation rites. Philstar.com/Jonathan Asuncion

House moves to ban, criminalize hazing
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - September 26, 2017 - 1:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — A House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday approved a bill that would seek to replace the country's Anti-Hazing Law and penalize officers of fraternities or sororities which got involved in deadly or injurious hazing rites.

The unnamed proposed law aims to prohibit and criminalize hazing, in contrast to the current Anti-Hazing Law which only regulates it, according to Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, the bill's author.

Dy told the House Subcommittee on Prosecutorial Reforms that since 2000 many of the reported deaths arising from hazing have not led to justice for the victims of these violent welcome rites and their families.

"The main difference is that in RA 8049, we are regulating hazing while in the bill, we are proposing to completely prohibit any form of hazing," Dy said.

READ:  Anti-hazing law: 22 years, 1 conviction

Dy's bill seeks to supplant Republic Act 8049 or "An Act Regulating Hazing and Other Forms of Initiation Rites in Fraternities, Sororities and Other Organizations and Providing Penalties Therefor."

Moves to amend the country's Anti-Hazing Law came amid the uproar over the death of Horacio Castillo III, a freshman law student at the Faculty of Civil Law of the University of Santo Tomas, during the supposed initiation rites held by the Aegis Juris fraternity.

READ: Hazing deaths in the Philippines: A recent history

A joint committee of several Senate panels conducted on Monday a hearing on the deadly incident where it was revealed that the primary suspect in the death of the law student was told by members of the fraternity to lie about the circumstance of Castillo's demise.

John Paul Solano, a licensed medical technologist, said that he was called by a member of the fraternity on the morning of September 17 because Castillo collapsed.

Upon arrival, he saw the law student sprawled on the floor. He later brought the unconscious freshman to the Chinese General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

READ:  From 'comfort of his bed' to crime scene: Hazing suspect points to frat brods in Atio's killing

UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, an on-leave member of the group, said that he was not aware of the supposed welcome rites of Aegis Juris.

Based on the current law, if a person subjected to hazing rites was injured or killed, the officers and members of the organization which participated in the infliction would be held as principal suspects.

In addition, no hazing or initiation rites would be allowed without prior written notice to the school or head of the organization seven days before the activity.

At least two representatives from the school should also be present during the initiation to ensure that violence would not be employed.

The law also requires groups, fraternities and sororities which have students as members and aim to recruit them as members to register with the school before they conduct their activities on or off campus.

Community-based organizations and fraternities meanwhile should also seek a written application from local government units where they are based not later than seven days before the initiation date.

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