By ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES
A FORMER senator and author of the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 urged all officers and members of fraternities and sororities to exclude hazing as a form of initiation.
“[G]et together [to] ban and burn all the paddles in a symbolic gesture. ‘Wag ningas kugon, [na kapag] lang may namatay, ‘saka lang tayo umiiyak, [at] ‘saka lang tayo nag-iingay,” former Sen. Joey Lina said in a seminar held Friday.
On Sept. 17, Civil Law freshman and hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital. Atio went to the “welcoming rites” of Aegis Juris Fraternity a day before.
Lina said it is very difficult to hold someone accountable for hazing due to lack of pieces of evidence and testimonies from people who witnessed the crime. “[T]hey have a code of silence. Nobody talks so nobody can testify. If there is no testimony, if there is no other evidence, nobody will say [that that person] gave the blows.”
“Wakasan na ang hazing. Hulihin ang may kagagawan ng kamatayan ni ‘Atio.’ Sampahan kaagad ng kaso. Litisin ‘to hanggang sa maparusahan nang habambuhay ang mga tao na may kagagawan ng kanyang pagkamatay,” he added.
According to the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, no hazing or initiation rites by any fraternity, sorority, and organization shall be conducted without prior notice to the concerned school or institution seven days before the initiation rite. No physical violence should also be incurred during the initiation rites.
There were 117 reported hazing incidents in the country from January 2002 to September 2017. There were a total of 419 suspects for these cases but only a conviction rate of 3.6 percent, data from the Philippine National Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management revealed.
The Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC), together with the Board of Majors (BOM), condemned in a unity statement the hazing rites which led to the death of the Castillo.
“In our fight this year to strengthen the liberality of our own college, we wish not to let any opportunity to seek justice for kuya Horacio slip between our fingers,” ABSC President Reymark Simbulan read from the statement.
“We, therefore, call upon the three entities: First, the members and officers of Aegis Jvris Fraternity who participated or who might have known about the initiation rites of kuya Horacio to surrender themselves to the authorities; second, the University of Santo Tomas to start speaking up about the issue and stop trying to drown the voices and efforts of the Thomasians and; third, the Filipino legislators, who should be more willing and able to prevent these types of violence to ever happen again.”
The seminar titled Initiation Rights: Culture of Violence in the Promise of Brotherhood was held at the Medicine Auditorium was organized by the ABSC in partnership with BOM. F