ANTI-crime advocates called on Congress to immediately act on pending proposed measures seeking to amend the 20-year-old anti-hazing law and have fraternities and other student organizations that use violent initiation rites banned.
“If in the course of the recruitment activity of any fraternity, sorority or other student organization, death results from hazing or initiation rites, the VACC recommends that such organization be banned from operating,” Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said in a statement.
There are five pending bills that seek to either amend or repeal Republic Act 8094 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 filed by Senators Vicente Sotto 3rd, Loren Legarda, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Honasan, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Jimenez said VACC wanted fraternities and other student organizations that have been involved in cases where a recruit died because of hazing be banished or declared illegal.
“Despite the number of deaths resulting from violent initiation rites, our youths have not learned their lessons,” said Jimenez.
The VACC chairman also said that even with existence of the anti-hazing law, fraternities and sororities were still performing the illegal practice because they know they could get away with it.
The slow and corrupt justice system and the “padrino system” where influential officials of the fraternity coddled erring members of the “brotherhood” has made the anti-hazing law ineffective, Jimenez said.
Jimenez made it clear, however, that the VACC was not pushing for the total ban of fraternities but having those engaging in hazing declared as “illegal gangs” and should be punished with the full force of the law.
Jimenez also suggested schools must compel recognized organizations in their institution to submit their activities for monitoring purposes.
The VACC made the call in the wake of the death of University of Santo Tomas Law student Horacio Castillo 3rd, believed to have been a victim of hazing.
Jimenez also reiterated his appeal to the Senate to immediately pass the proposed measure restoring the death penalty for heinous crimes, including hazing.
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs is set to conduct its own investigation into the death of Castillo. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA