Freeman Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: , sectionmatch: 1

Another extra-judicial killing by frat hazing

The brutal and senseless killing of 22-year old Horacio Castillo III, a very promising, brilliant student in the Faculty of Civil Law in the country's only pontifical university, UST, once again underscores the need to closely watch our growing children and guard them against alleged brutal murderers masquerading as fraternity brothers. If I were the father, I would consider the option of suing for moral, exemplary and other forms of damages, the university, including the dean who is allegedly a senior member of the same fraternity. That is if there is evidence of gross negligence on the part of the administrators. Although the administration acted swiftly by suspending the members of same fraternity, such futile move has no way of bringing back to life such a fine young future member of the Bar. What a senseless waste of life of one who dreamed to become a Supreme Court Associate Justice and ultimately the Chief Justice.

In fairness to UST, to my knowledge when I was still teaching in that law school, the university has always exercised due diligence in making sure that lives and properties within its campus are protected. But these fraternities do not do their hazing and initiations within the campus. Fraternity advisers who are usually faculty members, with the same fraternity affiliation, must be put to task and ordered to explain why they failed to supervise the fraternity initiation rites and welcome exercises. If there is a prima-facie showing of notorious negligence, then such advisers should also be placed under preventive suspension. And later if and when the facts warrant, they should be dismissed for serious misconduct. What are involved here are not just financial and other forms of assets. Lives are put in grave and imminent danger.

If I were part of the Dominican community that run the university, I would immediately form a composite group of senior alumni who are not frat men  and to give them the task to thoroughly review the facts leading to the untimely death of this innocent young man. I would ask the college of law dean to take a leave of absence, so that the investigation shall be done without a cloud of doubt. Fraternity advisers must be included among the respondents and due process should be done with a compelling sense of urgency. And then, if warranted by the evidence, heads should roll. Criminal cases should be filed. The Dominicans should also review all manuals for faculty, staff, and students.

This kind of summary executions should stop. These are all senseless wastes of human life. There should be a rule that incumbent school administrators should not be a member of any of these fraternities. And all such groups that are proven to have caused crimes must be imposed a perpetual ban from the campus.

For all of us who are watching, with a collective sense of outrage, some lessons have to be learned. First, why are fraternities and sororities able to recruit neophytes despite all the notorious records of deaths, injuries and psychological traumas? What drives senior fratmen and frat women to inflict physical injuries on these recruits? How come fraternal bonds are being built on the basis of bodily harm and psychological tortures? To my mind, this is a culture that is propagated all throughout the decades. Fraternities are used to conduct bar operations that give aid and comfort to members. These groups perpetuate a culture of mutual help in politics and professional practices. Young law students want to follow incumbent senators and justices who are bound by special ties. These motivations should be strong enough as to risk lives of young students.

Whatever it is, these senseless killings must stop and the criminals must be arrested, prosecuted and jailed to the full measure of the law. Whatever it takes to end these cycles of deaths should be undertaken with a sense of decisiveness and urgency. No ifs and no buts.

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josephusbjimenez@gmail.com.

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