Senate probes Adamson student’s hazing death
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate began its probe into the death by fraternity-related hazing of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig on Tuesday, March 7.
The hearing held by the chamber’s committees on justice and human rights, and public order and dangerous drugs was prompted by the privilege speech of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday, March 1.
Zubiri said hazing should not be condoned in society as he pressed for laws that would prevent such brazen incidents from happening again.
READ: Senators condemn fatal hazing of engineering student
Senator Francis Tolentino, who presided over the hearing, said the upper chamber does not aim to conduct a parallel investigation into the death of Salilig.
“What we will do here is to fine-tune the law. Help us craft an amendment that will really give teeth to the law,” he noted.
Sen. Raffy Tulfo further asserted that the Anti-Hazing Law is “not enough.”
“We have to provide it with more teeth to make fraternities, sororities and organizations involved in hazing more responsible, and to make those who had the chance to prevent these deaths liable,” he added.
The naked and battered body of 24-year-old Salilig was found dumped in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite on Saturday, February 28 – ten days since he went missing after attending the initiation rites of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.
READ: Death by ‘brotherhood’: Family, university in grief
An autopsy report on Salilig found that he died due to “severe blunt force trauma to the lower extremities.”
READ: Adamson student died of ‘severe blunt force trauma’
He was smacked with a paddle at least 70 times, according to investigators, who were quoting the statements of witnesses.
Tau Gamma Phi, which was founded in 1968 by students from the University of the Philippines Diliman, is among the largest fraternities in the Philippines.
The fraternity has publicly declared a “no hazing” policy, but at least 14 hazing cases have been attributed to its members – called “triskelions” – since 2006.
Criminal complaints have since been filed against at least seven frat men: Tung Cheng Teng Jr., Earl Anthony Romero, Jerome Balot, Sandro Victorino, Michael Lambert Ritalde, Mark Pedrosa, and Daniel Perry.
Each of them faces a prison term of 20 to 40 years and a fine of P3 million for each count of hazing should they be convicted.
Salilig’s brother, John Michael, and Roi Osmond dela Cruz, a neophyte who had undergone hazing with Salilig, were named complainants.
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