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Thomasians demand UST to abolish Aegis Juris, expel fratmen involved

A group of Thomasian students and alumni demanded that the University of Santo Tomas abolish the Aegis Juris Fraternity and urged the university to comply with police investigations “without reservations.” Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas students and alumni condemning the death of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III called on the university to abolish the Aegis Juris Fraternity and fire or expel everyone involved.

“This is clearly a sadistic and perverted sense of brotherhood. Only persons with twisted and sociopathic minds would willingly beat up their brother or any person for that matter to the point of death,” the statement read.

Aside from the abolition of the fraternity and the expulsion of fratmen involved, the group demanded that the UST comply with police investigations “without reservations” and continue updating the public on the progress of the investigations.

It also slammed UST for being “tight-lipped” on Castillo’s death.

“The University of Santo Tomas is still tight-lipped on the matter, consistent with its adherence to a culture of silence whenever major issues arise. We believe that the University’s sole statement of condolence and condemnation is mere lip service,” it said.

They urged UST to implement stricter policies on the recruitment of organizations and release the list of members of Aegis Juris and its sister sorority Regina Legis et Juris.

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Members of Regina Legis et Juris were believed to be present during Castillo’s initiation rites.

READ: From 'comfort of his bed' to crime scene: Hazing suspect points to frat brods in Atio's killing

Moreover, the group wanted the members and officers of Aegis Juris to be prosecuted pursuant to Sections 2 and 3 of the Anti-Hazing Law.

The law states that “if the person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers any physical injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals.”

Life imprisonment will be imposed on individuals involved if initiation rites result in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation.

Call to amend Anti-Hazing Law

The group of concerned Thomasians called on both the House of Representatives and the Senate to amend and create laws to address hazing.

“We believe that the Anti-Hazing Act, crafted by legislators who are members of fraternities and sororities, fails to prevent initiation rites from occurring,” it said.

Passed in 1995, the Anti-Hazing Law only regulates initiation rites and prohibits physical harm and violence against applicants.

READAnti-hazing law: 22 years, 1 conviction

Twenty-two years since its passage, there has only been one conviction for hazing.

In 2015, the Supreme Court found two Alpha Phi Omega members guilty of violating the law for the death of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Marlon Villanueva in 2006. 

Lawmakers from the lower and upper house have filed separate bills seeking to amend the law.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to kill one. Institutions which sweep issues under the rug, keep silent in the face of injustice and are more concerned with the welfare of murderers and murderer enablers continue to kill victims even beyond the grave,” the group said.

The 22-year-old law student succumbed to death after incurring injuries from hazing rites.

READ: Hazing victim's pa: Aegis Juris treated my son like an animal

The group hopes that Castillo’s death would be the “catalyst for reforms in the University, in legislation and the judiciary.”

“It is not enough that Horacio’s murderers are brought to justice. We would only say that justice has been truly served if our institutions, both educational and legal, have been rid of the disease of injustice whose symptoms include vast networks of people whose first duty is not to God, conscience or the law, but to [their] 'brothers' regardless of the wrong they have done,” it said.

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