Life imprisonment for hazing principals
Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), authors of House Bill 6468, cited the need to strengthen the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049 by providing stiffer penalties and stricter implementation.
“Since RA 8049 was enacted into law to curb the rampant violence during hazings ceremonies by various fraternities, sororities and organizations. There are still numerous reports of death and injuries in various parts of the country, the most recent of which was the case of Marvin Reglos,” Rodriguez said.
“The law was supposed to penalize those who go too far during initiation rites wherein prospective members or neophytes are made to bear and suffer extreme pain thru physical violence,” Rodriguez said.
“This only shows that there is need to strengthen the law by providing stiffer penalties and stricter implementation,” he added.
Under the bill, any officers or members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm in a hazing or in other forms of initiation rites shall be liable as principals and shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Furthermore: “The responsible officials of the school or of the police, military or citizen’s army training organization may impose the appropriate administrative sanctions on the person or persons charged under this provision even before their conviction.”
Likewise, “the owner of the place where hazing is conducted shall be liable as an accomplice, when he has knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring. If the hazing is held in the home of one of the officers or members of the fraternity, group, or organization, the parents shall be held liable as principals when they have actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring.”
Under the present law, the officers, former officers, or alumni of the organization, group, fraternity or sorority who actually planned the hazing although not present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed shall be liable as principals. A fraternity or sorority’s adviser who is present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed and failed to take action to prevent the same from occurring shall be liable as principal.
Likewise, the presence of any person during the hazing is prima facie evidence of participation therein as principal unless he prevented the commission of the acts punishable herein.
The House Committee on Revision of Laws, to which HB 6468 was referred to by plenary for proper action is also in receipt of HB 5912, a similar measure filed earlier in February this year by Ako Bicol party list Reps. Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe, Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Partylist, Bagong Henerasyon) and Magtanggol I. T. Gunigundo (2nd District, Valenzuela City).
“It must always be borne in mind that these fraternities, sororities and organizations exist to foster camaraderie and deep friendships and not to exact plain and violence,” Rodriguez said.