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MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday, July 1, urged members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity involved in a recent hazing incident to turn themselves in, saying he would welcome them if they wished to surrender directly to him.
“Hindi po p’wedeng habangbuhay kayong magtatago. Meron po kayong dapat harapin, dahil sa ang kanilang ginawa ay hindi tama. Unang-una, bawal ho iyan. Pangalawa, condemnable po iyan. Buhay ang nawala. Hindi tama,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
(You can’t hide forever. You have an issue to face, because what you did was wrong. First of all, it’s prohibited. Second, that is condemnable. A life was lost. That is not right.)
At least 11 suspects were believed to be behind a hazing ritual conducted Saturday, June 28, that killed one and injured 3 others.
Guillo Cesar Servando, John Paul Raval, Lorenze Agustin, and another 17-year-old man – all students of De La Salle-College of St Benilde (DLS-CSB) – were rushed from a unit of One Archer’s Place along Taft Avenue in Manila to the Philippine General Hospital Saturday evening.
Servando was pronounced dead on arrival, with an autopsy report pointing to injuries in the back and legs as cause of death. The others are still recuperating. (READ: St. Benilde student dies in suspected hazing incident)
As of posting, a couple of tweets by the ABS-CBN News Channel said one of the suspects surrendered to the Manila Police District, and said the hazing happened in Makati. The suspect, whom authorities declined to identify for security reasons, would be turned over to the Makati Police.
Binay visited Servando’s wake on Tuesday, and vowed justice for the sophomore student.
“Uulitin ko: sana madaling matapos ang kaso. Kasi ang punishment ay napakalayo sa time ng death. So wala nang lasa. It’s not felt anymore. Kaya ka pine-penalize, kasi para hindi na mangyari ulit. Kung sampung taon na, walang lasa na ‘yun,” he said.
(I repeat: I hope the case will be solved soon. Because when the penalty is meted out far from the time of death, it doesn’t have any impact. It’s not felt anymore. You are being penalized so that the incident doesn’t happen again. If it takes 10 years to solve the case, it doesn’t have any impact anymore.)
He told the victims and their families not to fear retaliation from the fraternity group if they testify against them, even assuring the families of police protection.
But Binay, a member of another fraternity, is not pushing for the abolition of fraternities. Instead, he urged universities and other education institutions to recognize these groups so they can be monitored and regulated.
“Ang alam kong naging malaking bagay sa UP (University of the Philippines), iyang mga iyan (fraternities) ay mino-monitor, regulated, at least, kilala mo sila. If they are registered, they are informed, ‘Ops, bawal ang hazing ah.’ Kapag nagkaroon ng hazing, sususpindihin namin kayo,” Binay said.
(I know this was a big thing in UP, those groups were monitored, regulated – at least you know them. If they are registered, they are informed: “Hazing is prohibited. If you insist, you will be suspended.”)
An alliance of student councils on Tuesday also said they are not calling for the abolition of these “honor societies” as long as they follow proper initiation rites. They, however, called for lawmakers to revise, strengthen, and implement the Anti-Hazing Law properly. (READ: College students call for review of Anti-Hazing Law)
In a news conference in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, also on Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III gave an assurance that seemed to respond to the students’ call. He said he would consult with his legal experts and law enforcers on what could be done to improve the enforcement of the law. (READ: Aquino condemns hazing: It ‘escapes any logic’)
Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law states “that no physical violence be employed by anybody” during initiation rites. It imposes a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if the hazing resulted to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation. – Rappler.com