MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III did not mince words in condemning hazing, following the death of an 18-year-old college student due to injuries sustained at his fraternity's initiation rites.
On Tuesday, July 1, Aquino admitted he is not a member of a fraternity, but said hazing to him is completely senseless.
"To inflict such harm on people you will call 'brothers' really escapes any logic I can fathom," he said in a news conference in Clark Freeport in Pampanga, in response to questions.
Aquino also appealed to older members of fraternities to be active in eliminating the dangerous tradition. "I would like to call upon the elders of these various fraternities. Even if you had to undergo the same, isn't it about time that you were the most active in making sure it stops?"
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The President said he does not feel the need for a full ban against fraternities as "that is not allowed," but pointed to the existence of the Anti-Hazing Law which is supposed to deter the practice.
"There is an Anti-Hazing Law already in the books. So one has to ask, 'What is lacking in terms of enforcement that prevents us from exercising the full penalties embodied in that law?'" he said.
"I will consult with our legal experts and also the law enforcement side as to extensively [see], what more can be done."
College students echoed the same view. Also on Tuesday, an alliance of student councils in the Philippines called for the revision and stricter implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law following the death of hazing victim Guillo Cesar Servando.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay, a member of a fraternity, visited Servando's wake on Tuesday, and vowed justice for the De La Salle-College of St Benilde sophomore student. Binay admitted he too had undergone hazing rituals but reminded fraternities there is now a law that bans it.
Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, states "that no physical violence be employed by anybody" during initiation rites.
It also mandates that "no hazing or initiation rites in any form or manner by a fraternity, sorority or organization shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization 7 days before the conduct of such initiation," which "shall not exceed 3 days."
The law also specifically states that if a death occurs as a result of hazing activities, "the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable" and may face life imprisonment. – Rappler.com