BI: One of Benilde hazing suspects has fled to the US
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed on Tuesday, July 8, that one of the suspects in the fatal hazing ritual that killed a La Salle-St Benilde student is no longer in the Philippines.
According to Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison, BI records show that Kevin John Navoa left for the United States last July 1 – or 3 days after the June 28 hazing incident conducted in a boarding house in Makati City.
Mison, however, gave assurances that other suspects are still in the country.
Navoa is one of at least 14 suspects from the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity believed to be behind the June 28 hazing ritual that killed De La Salle University-College of St Benilde student Guillo Cesar Servando and injured 3 other students.
Servando, John Paul Raval, Lorenze Agustin, and a 17-year-old male student were brought to a boarding house in Makati City for the initiation rites. After the initiation, they were brought back to One Archer’s Place along Taft Avenue in Manila.
From there, the students called Patrol 117 for help. They were rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, but Servando was pronounced dead on arrival. (READ: DLSU condemns 'barbaric act' of hazing)
Hold-departure order needed
Mison said they could not have prevented Navoa from leaving the country without a hold-departure order.
Authorities have yet to file a case against the suspects, while the bureau has not yet received any hold-departure order against the suspects. (READ: Makati police: No delay in filing of case vs hazing suspects)
“Without such court-issued hold-departure order, we don't have legal position to prevent anyone from leaving the country, although we maintain the information in our data bank,” Mison said in a statement Wednesday, July 9.
If Navoa does not voluntarily return to the country, there is still a way to bring him back. Mison said Navoa may be deported if the Department of Foreign Affairs cancels his passport, making him “an undocumented alien abroad.”
Travel records of other suspects are already undergoing verification, but the bureau chief reiterated the need for a court order before holding anyone’s departure.
Also on Wednesday, one of the elders of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity called on their members involved to surrender. (READ: FAST FACTS: Get to know Tau Gamma Phi)
"I am for the surrender of those who participated and I am for their voluntary plea of guilty. [This is] my position as an elder of the fraternity and as a former leader of the fraternity. Nangyari yan e (That already happened), then you have to own up to it.... I believe the public will appreciate that,” lawyer Jay De Castro said. (READ: Aquino condemns hazing: It 'escapes any logic’)
De Castro – a former Grand Triskelion of the fraternity’s University of Santo Tomas chapter – spoke to Rappler after a National Youth Commission discussion on Wednesday that reviewed the Anti-Hazing Law and the fraternity culture in schools and communities. (READ: College students call for review of Anti-Hazing Law)
He joined calls of justice for Servando, and vowed that Tau Gamma Phi will not tolerate any of the suspects who will hide or run away from their responsibility. (READ: Binay to hazing suspects: You can't hide forever)
Last Tuesday, Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian also filed the Servando Act, a bill that seeks to end hazing in the country. – Rappler.com