Stiffer penalties for hazing eyed

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Senator Vicente Sotto 3rd is pushing for the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua against any officer or member of fraternities or sororities found guilty of participating in any form of hazing.

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Sotto, who filed Senate Bill (SB) 97, which seeks to amend Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 8049, also known as the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, said it is time to revisit the law and put more teeth into it.

“This (hazing) is a senseless brutal initiation rite that has claimed a number of young and promising lives. It is a barbaric act that has no place in modern society,” Sotto said.

At present, the Anti-Hazing Law only imposes life imprisonment if death, rape, sodomy and mutilation results attended the hazing incident. Graduated penalties are imposed depending on the circumstances and the condition of the victim.

On the other hand, under Sotto’s proposed amendment, “Any [officer]or [member]of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm in a hazing or other [forms]of initiation rites shall be liable as principals and shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.”

Reclusion perpetua, as distinguished from life imprisonment, entails imprisonment for at least 30 years after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon.

The latest victim of hazing was 18-year-old De La Salle College of St. Benilde student Guillo Servando.

The proposed amendment also seeks the imposition of the maximum penalty when the hazing or initiation rite is committed under the influence of illegal drugs or liquor or when non-resident or alumni fraternity members are present during the hazing.

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