Senators condemn fatal hazing of engineering student
MANILA, Philippines — Senators condemned on Wednesday the hazing incident that killed a chemical engineering student at Adamson University.
In separate statements, senators aired their frustration on the fatal hazing of John Matthew Salilig, 24.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri called on law enforcement bodies to hunt down and arrest the perpetrators of the killing.
“Hazing should not be tolerated by any society and we have the laws in place to make sure that it should never happen on hapless young men and women only longing for friendship and camaraderie. Those barbarian perpetrators should all rot in jail for the rest of their lives,” Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that the anti-hazing law should be reviewed.
“The strength of the organization and brotherhood can never be measured through hazing or other types of violence… In the midst of this new case of hazing, we need to be more pro-active and revisit the law to ensure that it is being implemented properly,” he said.
While Senator JV Ejercito stressed that fraternities have benefits, he said those conducting hazing must be blacklisted.
“Those fraternities that will be involved in hazing, probably ‘yun ‘yung mga dapat i-blacklist na, talagang hindi na payagan. ‘Wag nang bigyan ng recognition in schools or in any other organizations,” he said in a media interview at the Senate.
(Those fraternities that will be involved in hazing probably should be blacklisted or not allowed. Do not give them recognition in schools or in any other organizations.)
Noting that he is not keen on banning fraternities, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said that fraternities should instead “police their ranks.”
“I am not for banning fraternities but siguro ‘yung (maybe) fraternities themselves should police their ranks and the school administration is very crucial. The police cannot be around everywhere,” he said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
For Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the hazing incident is a matter of law enforcement.
“The penalties are already very stiff. Hence if there are people still bold enough to violate the anti hazing law then that means these people do not believe that the law will be applied to them. It is therefore a matter of law enforcement already. Our law enforcers should crack this case and solve it and then file air tight cases against those they have evidence against,” Pimentel told INQUIRER.net in a message.
Senators Risa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian, on the other hand, said that they join Salilig’s bereaved family in seeking justice.
“No ifs and buts — hazing has no place in our society. The full extent of existing laws like the Anti-Hazing Act should be brought down on all who participated in John Matthew’s killing, including those who [knew about] the crime,” Hontiveros said.
“It is crucial that we stay vigilant until justice is served and those involved are held fully accountable… I am also urging our government agencies and our partners from schools and communities to ensure that the mechanisms provided for under the Anti-Hazing Act are in place to protect our youth,” said Gatchalian.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada believes the law has “teeth” to make perpetrators liable for their acts.
“I call on the law enforcers to round up all those involved and privy to the case and hold them accountable to the law… These acts of violence, the criminal acts that continue to be performed in the false name of brotherhood, will not be tolerated,” he said.
Moreover, Senator Nancy Binay lamented that schools should serve as “safe spaces” for children.
“But sadly, schools, administrators and even law enforcement agencies fail to seriously check and monitor organizations na patuloy pa rin sa tradisyunal na (that continue traditional) initiation rites,” she said.
Salilig was reported missing on February 18. He was last seen on his way to the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi in Laguna.
On February 28, his remains were found in Imus, Cavite. Police said that Salilig received at least 70 hits.