Adamson student’s death prompts calls to review anti-hazing law

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Adamson student�s death prompts calls to review anti-hazing law

MANILA, Philippines — Some senators on Wednesday called to revisit the anti-hazing law that was just amended in 2018 to check on its implementation after a student of Adamson University died allegedly during his initiation into a fraternity chapter.

“In the midst of this new case of hazing, we need to be more proactive and revisit the law to ensure that it is being implemented properly,” Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said in a statement.

Villanueva, himself a member of Tau Gamma Phi which is tagged in the death of chemical engineering student John Matthew Salilig, said hazing is not part of what their fraternity believes in or fights for.

“The strength of the organization and brotherhood can never be measured through hazing or other types of violence,” Villanueva said.

Sen. JV Ejercito also called for a review of the anti-hazing law that imposed tougher penalties after the death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Castillo III due to hazing at the hands of members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

“We’ve passed the anti-hazing law and yet here we are again. So probably we have to review [it] again on how we will be able to make it tougher or make people fear it because it seems like they don’t care,” Ejercito said partly in Filipino in a media interview.

Matter of law enforcement

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said penalties being imposed by the amended anti-hazing law are already very stiff, which makes it a matter of law enforcement.

“If there are people still bold enough to violate the anti hazing law then that means these people do not believe that the law will be applied to them,” Pimentel said in a text message. “Our law enforcers should crack this case and solve it and then file airtight cases against those they have evidence against.”

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, meanwhile, said justice must be served for Salilig to deter people from engaging in hazing.

“What we need to do is to show justice for the family so that these individuals would be scared when they hurt their fellow fraternity members because they will certainly be jailed,” Zubiri said partly in Filipino in a media interview.

Sens. Nancy Binay and Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, expressed dismay at how despite improvements to the anti-hazing law there are still young people dying in violent initiation rites.

“On- or off-campus, our schools are supposed to be safe spaces for our children. But sadly, schools, administrators and even law enforcement agencies fail to seriously check and monitor organizations who continue with traditional initiation rites,” Binay said in a statement.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros also underscored the need for the proactive implementation of the anti-hazing law to ensure that schools “will not be havens for hazing and other forms of violent and regressive activities.”

An initial police report found bruises on Salilig’s thighs, based on an interview by The STAR newspaper with Cavite police director Col. Christopher Olazo.

Tau Gamma Phi, the fraternity alleged to have been involved in the incident, has yet to issue a statement from its national chapter.

However, the fraternity’s Imus chapter has issued a statement condemning Salilig’s death and called the 24-year-old a “hazing victim.”

An ABS-CBN News report on Tuesday stated that Salilig’s brother, along with police personnel, recovered his body in a vacant lot in Cavite after one of the suspects disclosed its location.

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