Lacson backs call to hold school heads liable in hazing deathsBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday backed the proposal of his colleagues in the Senate to amend the Anti-Hazing Law to include among those criminally liable officials of universities and colleges which accredited fraternities and student organizations that are still engaging in hazing activities.
“Prospectively, school heads should be held liable for the death of their students in fraternity hazing rituals,” Lacson told reporters in a weekly forum at the Senate.
Lacson said that the existing Anti-hazing Law or Republic Act 8049 needs improvement since the law provides that universities and colleges should be informed at least seven days prior to the initiation rites for them to be able to send representatives who will supervise the activity.
However, this provision has not been followed by schools and organizations.
“Everytime we hear news about deaths in hazing rituals obviously no school representatives were present there…,” he said.
He added that institutions like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are also covered by the law.
Likewise, Lacson urged universities and colleges to be at the forefront of information campaign dissemination regarding the provisions of the law and that the anti-hazing law should be taught to students.
The statement came a day after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile instructed the Senate committee on public order, headed by Senator Gregorio Honasan, to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to look into possible amendments to the existing ant-hazing law.
On Wednesday, relatives of Mark Andrei Marcos, the San Beda law student who was the latest victim of a fatal fraternity hazing incident, came to the Senate and sought for a meeting with legislators. Enrile, Honasan and Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III committed to conduct an inquiry and improve existing laws on anti-hazing.