Criminology student dies after alleged frat hazing in Sorsogon
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Criminology student dies after alleged frat hazing in Sorsogon
Franco Luna ( - February 18, 2020 - 1:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — Freshman criminology student Omer Despabiladeras passed away while another student severely injured after both were involved in what was reported to be a fraternity-related hazing in Bulan town, Sorsogon on Sunday. 

The 23-year-old Despabiladeras along with 17 other students of the Solis Institute of Technology reportedly took part in hazing rites to join the Tau Gamma Fraternity in Barangay San Vicente that morning. 

Police MSgt. Edgar Calupit told reporters on Monday that the victim passed out during the initiation rites and was immediately rushed by members of the fraternity to Pantaleon Gotladera Memorial Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

The other victim, Alfredo Gonia, was undergoing treatment at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital in Sorsogon City according to police reports.

'You can't eliminate hazing'

Despite President Rodrigo Duterte's signing of a law strengthening the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995, he was also quoted as saying that the threat of hazing in fraternities could not be completely eradicated. 

His pronouncement came after the last high-profile hazing case of cadet Darwin Dormitorio of the Philippine Military Academy.

This case, along with that of a University of the Philippines student who figured in an alleged brutal initiation rite of the Sigma Rho fraternity, thrust the topic of fraternity rites into the spotlight earlier last year. 

The new law was expanded to also sanction anyone found to assist in the cover-ups of hazing activities, on top of imposing harsher penalties on those involved in the initiations themselves, particularly those that cause physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury.

According to the law, participants in hazing activities that result in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation can be jailed for up to 40 years along with a fine of P3 million.

“You know, if you join and you get caught, sorry. You cannot do away with that. Unless you ban fraternity for all time. Make it a criminal offense by joining a fraternity. But that would raise so many constitutional issues,” the Chief Executive said.

As of this writing, ranking officials of the Bulan Municipal Police Station are still in the process of determining the identities of those directly responsible for the death. 

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