EDITORIAL - Monsters’ brotherhoods
(The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2014 - 12:00am

With the opening of classes come the monsoons and floods, and juvenile indulgence in one’s inner monster. Guillo Cesar Servando, only 18, died Saturday night apparently from severe beating. Police investigators suspect the sophomore student of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde was a victim of hazing.

Three of Servando’s companions, also students of the same college, are still being treated for similar injuries at the Philippine General Hospital, where they were rushed shortly upon arriving at a condominium in Manila apparently after the initiation rites at the hands of members of the Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity.

Not a year has passed without at least one student being killed or severely injured in a hazing incident. These days the orgy of violent madness is no longer confined to teenage boys with runaway testosterone; even sororities now engage in rituals of cruelty, with each batch making sure neophytes will suffer the same pain and humiliation.

Hazing can’t seem to be eradicated in the military and police academies; the problem is believed to be one of the reasons for the persistence of human rights violations when the graduates of these academies join the officer corps. But hazing has also been reported in all of the country’s top institutions of higher learning, despite the passage of a law against hazing.

One reason has to be the perception that the state is unable or unwilling to punish those who engage in hazing. Fraternities especially in the legal profession have consistently resisted attempts to punish even those convicted of involvement in fatal hazing rites. It took 20 years for the family of Aquila Legis neophyte Leonardo Villa, an Ateneo law student, to get justice.

Fraternities or sororities whose entry requirements involve violence, pornography and other forms of degrading activities should be shut down and permanently outlawed. All officials of any group whose initiation rites lead to death or serious physical injuries and psychological trauma should be held criminally liable, with corresponding civil damages to be paid to victims.

Cruelty is not confined to organizations that purport to promote brotherhood or sisterhood. These days social media has also become a tool for bullying in schools, leading to several student suicides in recent years. If the nation’s youth can believe that humiliation and violent assault build special bonds and strengthen character, it does not bode well for the future of this republic.

 

ALPHA KAPPA RHO AQUILA LEGIS ATENEO DE LA SALLE-COLLEGE OF ST. BENILDE GUILLO CESAR SERVANDO HAZING LEONARDO VILLA PHILIPPINE GENERAL HOSPITAL STUDENT THREE OF SERVANDO
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