MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines Student Disciplinary Tribunal (UP-SDT) may continue administrative proceedings against students who were allegedly involved in the August 2007 fatal hazing of Cris Anthony Mendez.
The Court of Appeals affirmed a decision allowing the university to push through with the process.
The UP-SDT has filed administrative charges against 13 UP students and members of the Sigma Rho fraternity, who allegedly took part in the hazing of Mendez, a student of the National College of Public Administration and Governance.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court had nullified the proceedings of the UP-SDT regarding Mendez's death, but this decision was reversed by the CA on October 6, 2015.
Petitioners Ariel Paolo Ante, Marcelino Veloso III, Keefee de la Cruz, and Armand Lorenze Sapital filed motions seeking to reverse the decision of the appellate court.
In their motion for reconsideration, the petitioners reasserted that Section 1, Rule II, of the Rules Governing Fraternities is akin to existing rules on preliminary investigation in criminal cases. The petitioners claimed that deviating from the said provision is a violation of due process, impairing the preliminary inquiry, and rendering defective future formal charges.
The petitioners denounced the preliminary inquiries for purportedly being conducted by the University Prosecutor rather than by a member of the UP-SDT as stated in the Rules Governing Fraternities.
In a 6-page resolution issued last September 27, the CA denied the motions for reconsideration.
In its resolution it said that while "the preliminary inquiries here may indeed be likened to the preliminary investigation in criminal proceedings," the case before the UP-SDT is still just administrative in character. According to the CA, it is not subject to the rigorous requirements of criminal due process.
“The preliminary inquiry and the formal charges herein are but components of the investigative and disciplinary action an academic university is mandated to take against its students suspected of being engaged in hazing activities,” the CA added.
The Court of Appeals also stressed that due process in disciplinary cases involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings such as those done in courts. – Rappler.com