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Stand up to hazing

/ 09:52 AM June 11, 2013

We won’t be surprised if nothing comes out of the arrest of hazing suspects Stephen Ocampo and Rommel Ybañez despite accounts from witnesses and even the police themselves who said they heard the cries of victims at F. Jaca Street in  barangay Pardo  in Cebu City.

Unless of course if alleged hazing victims Maricel Secuya and Buenaventura Badayos are high profile figures who  wield considerable influence in society  or  in school, whatever controversy or noise created by the arrest may soon cool off and the suspects freed with nary a complaint filed against them.

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Despite the evidence that may be deemed circumstantial by lawyers—a paddle bearing the name of the Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity, the witnesses and the police who heard the cries of pain of Secuya and Badayos—and the body bruises,  lawyers of Ocampo and Ybañez may even dismiss these as part and parcel of the frat’s underground culture.

“Hazing is part of our culture. It is a way of testing their loyalty to our fraternity,” Ocampo said when asked why they continued with the brutal initiatiation  despite the existence of an anti-hazing law.

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If he and Ybañez were so unafraid of the legal and moral consequences of their actions, then why did they have to lie when they said they were finished with the initiation anyway, when some of the witnesses testified that the fratmen ran away after hearing that the police were coming?

The law  prohibits the use of or the threat of force and intimidation from being used on  recruits and allows the presence of some school or organization officials during initiation rites.

Those who crafted the law recognized the existence and acceptance of fraternities in society  but also reinforced public condemnation of the excessive use of force and intimidation by fraternity leaders and masters in order to bind the loyalty of  willing or unwilling members.

The law also encourages  victims to report the abuse to  law enforcement agencies.

But with no complainants, who refuse to come out for fear of reprisal, we ought to petition Congress  to reconsider the clause that allows victims of hazing  to refuse medical examination.

If  victims of abuse won’t stand up against their tormentors, it’s time for the police and other law enforcement agencies to take up the cudgels for them by having them undergo compulsory medical examination.

Their wounds would be adequate testimony to the work of hooligans.

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It’s time to crack down on those who make violence a perverse welcome rite to manhood.

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TAGS: Fraternity, hazing
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