The House of Representatives has approved an anti-hazing measure that seeks to penalize schools, fraternity or sorority officers with fines of up to three million pesos and lifetime imprisonment depending on their role in the incident.
This developed after the approval of House Bill 5760 or Anti-Hazing Act, principally authored by Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian, on its third and final reading this week.
The measure defines hazing as any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit as a form of an initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization.
The proposal also provides that officers of the fraternity, sorority or organization as well as members involved in the hazing will be meted a jail time of 12 to 20 years on top of a P1-million fine. The penalty will be hiked to P3 million if those involved in the hazing will be found under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
If the hazing resulted in death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation of the victim, participants will be penalized with lifetime imprisonment and a fine of P3 million.
Likewise, the school will be fined P1 million if it approved the written application to conduct initiation by a fraternity, sorority or any student organization and hazing occurred during the said activity or if there are no school representatives present during initiation rites.
“In order to stop hazing, the law should state it for what it is: a barbaric, criminal act that compromises the integrity of any organization that employs it as a means of initiation. Our existing Anti-Hazing law merely seeks to regulate hazing when it should be banned outright. Anything less than the explicit prohibition and criminalization of hazing is not enough,” Gatchalian pointed out in his explanatory note on the measure.
The latest hazing victim is Julius Servando, a sophomore student of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) who died in the hands of Tau Gamma Phi Fraternitas last June 28, 2014.
The National Bureau of Investigation already charged at least 20 people in connection with Servando’s death, but at least five of these suspects already left the country.
The fugitives include: Alyssa Valbuena, John Kevin Navoa, Esmerson Calupas, Hans Killian Tatlonghari and Eleazar Pablico III.