DLSU suspends cadet officers training program over hazing

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The De La Salle University (DLSU) has temporarily suspended the Cadet Officer Candidate Course (COCC) program of its Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) “for the rest of the term” over alleged hazing in the unit.

The school’s publication, The Lasallian, reported on Sunday that DLSU’s Student Discipline Formation Office (SDFO) is investigating possible hazing following complaints, including one filed by parents of a former cadet.

“Until June, members of the COCC or advanced ROTC program continued to train during Saturdays and other selected training days. However, while the investigation is ongoing, the program has been temporarily suspended to prevent interactions between cadets that could lead to possible interference with the outcome of the investigation,” The Lasallian said.

“Security has also been stationed at the ROTC office area to monitor the organization’s everyday activities while the university is still in the process of assigning a new ROTC coordinator, following the retirement of the previous coordinator. The suspension of the program will not affect ROTC’s other socio-civic activities, such as the blood drive, as well as its color services,” it added.

The hazing complaint came from the parents of a former cadet who was allegedly punched and locked in a cabinet by his ROTC superiors.

The investigation started in June and may take until December, the report added.

According to the DLSU’s organ, the temporary suspension of the COCC is not related to the death of Guillo Cesar Servando, a DLSU-College of Saint Benilde student who died after initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity last June 28.

“The Lasallian has been pursuing this story over the past few weeks. The incident mentioned above has no relation to fraternities or the unfortunate passing of Guillo Cesar Servando,” it said.

The DLSU requires new students, upon admission, to sign a “non-fraternity contract” which stipulates that “its violation will result in either dismissal or expulsion.”

Witnesses cooperating with NBI

Meanwhile, four witnesses are cooperating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)  to identify the suspects in the fatal hazing of Servando.

These witnesses include two security guards of One Archers Place condominium, where Servando died hours after the initiation rites. 

Servando’s fellow neophyte and one of those who brought Servando inside a condominium unit also approached the bureau.

“They were able to identify the members of Tau Gamma Phi, and they could prove that frat members indeed brought Servando back to the condominium,” NBI Death Investigation Unit head Joel Tovera said.

Servando, 18, and three other students of DLS - CSB underwent initiation rites in an apartment in Makati.

The three, including a 17-year-old, were seriously injured and were brought to different hospitals for treatment.

The remains of Servando, meanwhile, were cremated last Wednesday.

Tovera said some of the suspects sent surrender feelers, but they have yet to surface.

Parents of one the 15 suspects also approached them to claim their son’s innocence.

Senate probe sought

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito batted yesterday for the conduct of a Senate inquiry into the case of Servando.

Ejercito filed Senate Resolution 759 in a bid to revisit the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995.

“It has been nine years since the enactment of Republic Act 8049. However, the unrelenting rise of casualties because of hazing has not ceased to stop,” Ejercito said in his resolution.

“There is a need to review the law and the enforcement of the law which might help thwart deaths and injuries to neophytes in the future,” the senator added.

Ejercito wants to know from concerned sectors why the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 is unable to deter the cycle of violence in fraternities. The law prohibits physical violence during initiation rites of fraternities and similar organizations and penalizes with life imprisonment activities that result in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation. – Helen Flores, Christina Mendez, Aie Balagtas See


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