Senate approves bill imposing total hazing ban
The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that would impose a total ban on hazing which was triggered by the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in September 2017.
Voting 19-0, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 1662, an Act Amending Republic Act No. 8049, which seeks to “strengthen the law on hazing and regulate other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations, providing penalties therefor.”
At the plenary, Castillo’s parents, Carminia and Horacio Jr., offered white roses to senators as they welcome the passage of the measure.
The measure was introduced by Senators Gregorio Honasan II, Sherwin Gatchalian, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Panfilo Lacson, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III. It was sponsored by Lacson and co-sponsored by Zubiri and Gatchalian.
During his speech, Zubiri called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite its filing of charges against the members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
“I would like to put on record to appeal to the DOJ to finally file the case at court. Let us not delay any further. Mauuna pa ‘yung batas kaysa sa kaso. I-file na po ‘yung kaso para sila ay makulong na,” Zubiri said.
“Let the fights be at the courts, Mr. President. Let them prove their innocence if they are even innocent,” he added.
Gatchalian has likewise warned organizations against hazing.
“Ito na ang huli ninyong pagkakataon para ayusin ang mga baluktot ninyong paniniwala… Kaya ang simple kong panawagan ay sana itigil niyo na yan bago pa mahuli ang lahat sa inyo. Wala na kayong takas sa susunod,” he said.
The bill defines hazing as any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte or applicant for admission or continuing membership into the fraternity, sorority or organization.
Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the measure expanded the coverage of hazing “to include paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of food, liquor, beverage, drug and other substance as well as any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which would likely adverse the physical and psychological health of the recruit, member, neophyte or applicant.”
The senator added that the proposed legislation would require fraternities, sororities and organizations to submit and post a written application to the proper school authorities of their initiation rite detailing the activity not later than seven days prior of the scheduled date.
Moreover, he said the school representatives should monitor, record and report that no hazing had been conducted in the initiation rites. /je
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