Senate urges swift arrest of hazing suspects

Latest hazing fatality John Matthew Salilig, an Adamson student who attended the Tau Gamma Phi initiation rites and was found dead in Imus, Cavite

Senators on Wednesday condemned the death of a student who attended the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity in Laguna and was recently found dead in Imus, Cavite.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri called on law enforcement to immediately hunt down and arrest the suspects behind the hazing of the Adamson student, John Matthew Salilig.

The senator decried the hazing incident and stressed that any individuals who participate in hazing that leads to the victim’s death is punishable with reclusion perpetua.

“Hazing should not be tolerated by any society, and we have the laws in place to make sure that it should never happen to hapless young men and women only longing for friendship and camaraderie. Those barbarian perpetrators should all rot in jail for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Zubiri noted that the culture of secrecy in the guise of fraternal “brotherhood” is abhorrent, and each and every single person involved — from those who planned and participated in the activity to those who were just present but did nothing to stop the hazing — should be thrown in jail as well.

“Under the law, they are all responsible,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa urged the fraternity and the school administrations to impose additional measures to protect students against hazing.

In a separate interview over the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday, Dela Rosa urged authorities to maximize the provisions of the Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Law.

“I am not for banning fraternities, but they should police their ranks. The school administration is very crucial because the police cannot be around every square inch of the directorate. So in the ranks of fraternity and sorority organizations, they have to police themselves. And the school must add additional measures to avoid this,” Dela Rosa said, partly in Filipino.

“The hazing law has already been maximized. Everything is there, all was already included. Maybe proactive measures are needed on the part of the school administration,” he added.

Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said there is a need for fraternity seniors to educate their younger ranks to avoid hazing incidents.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, said the government must ensure the proactive implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law and other regulations to ensure that schools and universities will not become havens for hazing and other forms of violent and regressive activities.

“While exclusive organizations like fraternities and sororities are not illegal and many of their members are law-abiding citizens, we should never tolerate nor justify violence and criminality,” Hontiveros said.

Senator Win Gatchalian also urged government agencies, schools, and community enforcers to ensure that the mechanisms provided for under the Anti-Hazing Act are in place to protect every youth.

“While Adamson University has initiated its investigation and the Tau Gamma Phi’s Triskelion Council of Imus City has vowed openness to collaborate with the bereaved family, it is crucial that we stay vigilant until justice is served and those involved are held fully accountable,” he said.

Senator Nancy Binay lambasted the “vicious cycle of physical abuse” by fraternity members amid the existence of RA 11053.

Binay lamented that schools, administrators, and even law enforcement agencies “have failed to seriously check and monitor” the fraternity organizations that keep doing the “traditional and deadly” initiation rites for their members.

“Hazing has laid claim to many senseless deaths–not to mention the perpetual and unimaginable pain that families of victims go through,” she said.

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