EDITORIAL - A test for the Anti-Hazing Act

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - A test for the Anti-Hazing Act

So many scandals have erupted over hazing deaths. Two laws have been passed to stop the beastly initiation rites – one after the death of Ateneo Law School student Lenny Villa at the hands of Aquila Legis fraternity members, and the second after it became clear that the first law effectively allowed hazing under a supervised environment.

Supervision is of course impossible; the nature of hazing makes its murderous perpetrators evade monitoring by any person in authority who might prohibit the violent initiation. This reality is once again evident in the death of a student in an institution long associated with deadly initiation rites: the Philippine Military Academy.

Cadet Darwin Dormitorio was beaten in at least three occasions, police said. He died of cardiac arrest due to internal hemorrhage resulting from the beating. The only positive aspect in this tragic episode is that an investigation has been launched, and three of Dormitorio’s upperclassmen believed responsible for the hazing death are in stockade.

Dormitorio’s death will test Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. Reports yesterday said two more PMA cadets have landed in the hospital apparently due to violent initiation rites. RA 11053 holds liable even administrators of schools where the hazing takes place. It was passed following the hazing death of Horacio Castillo, a law school student in the University of Santo Tomas, who was beaten by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

While soldiers may one day be confronted with a situation where they end up taking a life, it can never be under the circumstances under which hazing is conducted – with the victim helpless, posing no threat to anyone, and giving no reason to deserve extreme beating and death.

Lenny Villa’s Aquila Legis killers got off with a slap on the wrist, becoming lawyers and even joining the government. Dormitorio’s killers must face the full force of the law. Beating someone to death in the name of a twisted brotherhood is the worst start for a career in national defense.




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