IN the wake of the hazing death of a law student, lawmakers are pushing for the immediate passage of a measure banning all forms of hazing in initiation rites of any fraternity and sorority.
Members of the House committee on justice underscored the need to amend the present anti-hazing law because the mere regulation of hazing does not solve the problem.
At yesterday’s hearing of the subcommittee on prosecutorial reforms, the technical working group led by Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy presented the substitute bill that seeks to revise the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049.
“In the Republic Act 8049 we were regulating hazing, as opposed to this, we are completely prohibiting any forms of hazing,” Herrera-Dy said.
Under the proposed substitute measure, only initiation rites that do not inflict direct or direct physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury to the neophyte will be allowed.
Just recently, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, a freshman law student of the University of Sto. Tomas died from fraternity hazing.
Castillo’s case will be added to the list of law students who were killed during violent initiation rites.
The proposed law will impose requisites for initiation rites, including the submission of a medical certificate by neophytes and measures for monitoring the event.
Fraternities and sororities will also be required to register with their schools or with local government units if they are community-based, the bill said.
Likewise, the bill provides that the consent of the victim will not exempt the perpetrator from liability.
Those who violate the proposed law would face jail time and penalties, the bill said.
According to committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali, this measure was already identified by the House leadership as a priority bill way before the most recent death of another hazing victim was reported.
“This extremely unfortunate event is in a way also fortuitous, since it is a testament to the timeliness of this measure and the pressing need to strengthen our laws to prevent such needless loss of a life full of promise and potential,” Umali said.
The bill requires a written application to proper authorities for the conduct of the rites, and assurance that it would not go more than three days.
School-based fraternities, sororities and other organizations will likewise be required to register with proper school authorities before they conduct activities. They will also be assigned a faculty adviser to monitor their activities.
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s hearing, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva suggested that school officials be held accountable for hazing incidents whether they know about it or not.