March 18, 2018, 10:13 am
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THE authors or the implementors of the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049 had no intention of banning hazing in fraternity initiation rites. It states: “The school authorities including faculty members who consent to the hazing or have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring shall be punished as accomplices for the acts of hazing committed by the perpetrators.” 

No college dean or school official has so far been charged since the law was passed after the Lenny Villa fatal hazing incident in 1995. The lawmakers then in the two houses of Congress had made sure that university and college administrators who should be supervising its implementation would be spared from criminal liability. No one in his right mind would admit giving consent to this unlawful act of hazing, much less admit that he was aware that such activity was taking place. No written memorandum has since been documented attesting to the accent of any college or university officials. Even if the law so provides for the monitoring of activities of all fraternities and sororities conducting initiation, no earnest effort was taken to determine hazing. No real expeditious effort has been undertaken to break the sworn mafia silence among fraternities. 

Four years ago, the officials of La Salle-St. Benilde in Manila could have prevented the killing of a neophyte if they had not ignored the record of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity notorious for engaging in hazing at other universities and colleges. 

Of course, the dean of the UST Faculty of Civil Law Nilo Divina knew hazing was part of the Aegis Juris rites. Why else would the father of fatality Horacio Tomas Castillo III seek an assurance from him that his son be spared from physical beating? Divina has since tried to wash his hands from any knowledge of the brutal incident by claiming that he has been on leave from the fraternity for eight years.

The alumni of fraternities and sororities in Congress, in the prosecutory service and in the courts have undoubtedly conspired not only to protect their brods from the law’s reach, but to similarly insulate fellow alumni designated as university and college officials, from any criminal accountability. If the “Honorables” were indeed serious to outlaw hazing, they should have strictly invoked command responsibility as part of RA 8049 to haul to court the college deans and university presidents, as well as the board directors or board trustees of the institutions that discreetly condone hazing until today. And yet, the unmended criminal justice system would likely unravel once again to shelter and protect the crooks.

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) where hazing continues to thrive are the leading examples of the mockery of this particular law. The cadets remain imbued with a firm sense of violence perpetuated by a wanton disregard for the law and schooled in the ways of violating many others. Small wonder that graduates of the PNPA in the PNP have entirely been emboldened to shoot down unarmed drug “suspects” with merciless regularity without as much as submitting to the rules of engagement. Small wonder that scores of PO1s have fearlessly stood upfront in the war against drugs with a homicidal and almost vengeful rage as if rising from physical anguish, disdain and humiliation.
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