Enrile wants to make school heads liable in hazing deathsBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate will conduct a hearing, in aid of legislation, on the possibility of amending the existing laws on anti-hazing following the recent death of a San Beda College of Law freshman student in Cavite City on Tuesday.
“The Senate President has directed the Senate committee on public order to conduct a hearing in aid of legislation to look into the possibility of amending the appropriate laws to address problem once and for all,” Senator Gregorio Honasan II told reporters.
He made the statement following a meeting between him, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and relatives of the victim, Mark Andrei Marcos.
Included in the issues that Enrile wants the committee to look into is the possibility of including university and college administrators as liable in the event another hazing incident occurs.
“According to the Senate President, apparently, there is an attempt on the part of school authorities to distance themselves from these student organizations and fraternities, he has instructed the committee on public order to look at the possibility of amending the law so that they will be included… they will share in the legal responsibility,” Honasan said.
He added that they will also look into improving police protection, if necessary for the families of the victims and witnesses who will come forward.
Honasan said that there are provisions for such in the existing law but Honasan said that they will review the flaws and weaknesses of the existing laws and if needed, create a new law.
Sotto, meanwhile, said that he will make the manifestation on the floor as a matter of interest on Monday and the Senate Committee on Public order may begin hearings on Tuesday.
Likewise, Honasan said as ordered by Enrile, they have issued instructions to invite concerned stakeholders on the matter. Initially, they will invite representatives of various universities and colleges, officials of various fraternities, sororities and student organizations and representatives from the Commission on Higher Education, Honasan said.
Honasan also admitted that his youngest brother was a victim of hazing in San Sebastian College but he said that he will remain partial and not let his personal experience get in the way of his duty as a legislator.
“I am not doing this because of my brother but I am doing this because of the cumulative, series of abuses,” Honasan said.
“That is why I am refraining from making my personal experience, our family, clout the more important issue which is strengthening the law,” he added.
Meanwhile, relatives of Marcos, who personally came to the Senate and sought a meeting with legislators, welcomed the commitment given by Enrile and his colleagues.
“We came here because we are actually building a common front against those responsible for the death of Andrei. We appreciate the response of the police and today we came here to also coalesce with whatever effort of the Senate,” lawyer Jose Vener Ibarra, Marcos family spokesman and an uncle of the victim, told reporters at the Senate.
“We are very much pleased that they are actually very interested not just in amending the law but also to support other victims of hazing,” he added.
When asked if their family is expecting to get justice immediately, Ibarra said: “We have no choice. We have to fight back no matter how long it takes.”
Last February, another San Beda law student, Marvin Reglos, died due to injuries in a fraternity hazing in Antipolo City.