EDITORIAL - Another hazing death

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Another hazing death

Despite the passage of two laws prohibiting violent initiation rites in fraternities and sororities, hazing is believed to have claimed another victim. Police said Ahldryn Lery Bravante, a fourth year student of the Philippine College of Criminology, was dead by the time he was brought to the Chinese General Hospital on Monday night by two members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.

Bravante, 25, reportedly suffered difficulty in breathing and lost consciousness after being beaten and burned with cigarettes by fraternity members in an abandoned building in Sto. Domingo, Quezon City. It’s unclear if there were other hazing victims.

Police arrested the two men who brought Bravante to the hospital: Justine Artates, a third year criminology student in the same school, and Kyle Michael de Castro. Two others – Lexer Angelo Manarpies and Mark Leo Andales – surrendered to the Quezon City Police District early yesterday. Police said the four – three of them just 20 years old – admitted participation in the hazing.

Whether training for the officer corps or pursuing a criminology course, some prospective members of the Philippine National Police seem to think violent initiation is a requirement for a career in law enforcement. The PNP Academy continues to be rocked periodically by reports of cadets being beaten to death as part of hazing rites. Deadly hazing cases also continue to be reported at the Philippine Military Academy, whose graduates have been allowed to enter the PNP as officers despite the different skills sets required.

The slow pace of Philippine justice has to be among the reasons for the impunity. Even when lethal hazing attracts national attention, the wheels of Philippine justice turn exceedingly slow to serve as a deterrent. The parents of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Castillo, for example, are still waiting for justice for the fatal hazing of their son in September 2017 at the hands of Aegis Juris fraternity members.

Violent initiation can be particularly worrisome for those who are preparing to pursue a career in law enforcement. The PNP faces enough problems trying to instill respect for human rights among its personnel. What the police service needs is efficient, science-based methods of criminal investigation, along with public support in crime deterrence and maintenance of peace and order. There must be no room in law enforcement agencies for the senseless violence fostered by violent initiation rites.

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