20 frat members face hazing raps

Charges of violation of the Anti-Hazing Law were recommended Thursday against 20 officers and members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity over the hazing death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig.

The National Bureau of Investigation filed the information before the Department of Justice while recommending that three frat members be considered as star witnesses for providing valuable information during the investigation of Salilig’s death.

Among the information provided by the three was the 250-page screenshot of the conversation among the Tau Gamma members tagged in the killing.

The NBI said it has identified the frat members involved in the planning of the initiation rites, as well as those who actually subjected Salilig to paddle blows and who buried his body in a vacant lot in Cavite.

Also brought to the Department of Justice were the five persons of interest who surrendered to the NBI. Among them was an alias “Biggie” who claimed he was only a guest at the initiation rites.

Government prosecutors on Wednesday found probable cause to indict seven TGP members on two counts of hazing believed to have caused Salilig’s death.

All seven “planned and participated in hazing the recruits by way of paddling,” the DoJ said. Salilig, 24, was allegedly hit about 70 times.

The seven indicted were identified as Earl Anthony Osita Romero, Tung Cheng Benitez Ten, Jerome Ochoco Balot, Sandro Dasalla Victorino, Michael Lambert Alcazar Ricalde, Mark Muñoz Pedrosa and Daniel de los Reyes Perry.

Fratmen who are found guilty in hazing deaths should be meted the death penalty, the father of Salilig said yesterday.

The victim’s brother, Joeffrey Salilig, in an interview over ANC, said he is in favor of reviving the death penalty against the perpetrators of hazing.

The elder Salilig said if there was a chance to revive the death penalty, then the Anti-Hazing Law should be amended to include capital punishment against the perpetrators of hazing.

“I am now in favor of this so that fraternities involved in such initiation rites will really observe, will not do this when they know about the stiffer penalties,” Salilig said.

The body of his son was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite on 28 February, days after he was reported missing.

A frat neophyte had said the fraternity officers refused to bring Salilig to a hospital after he suffered a seizure during initiation.

For Salilig’s family, this means the case is “solved,” Joeffrey said.

Cold warning

The indictment of seven frat men should serve as a warning to fraternities, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Thursday.

In a statement, Zubiri warned fraternities against hazing despite the enactment of the Anti-Hazing Law.

“This serves as a cold warning to our fraternities that the Anti-Hazing Law is at work, and that when you commit a crime, the long arm of the law will find you and justice will be served,” Zubiri said.

He added: “To those who still practice hazing, I will make sure that you won’t get away from the Anti-Hazing Law. You will face the law and you will rot in jail.”

Zubiri lauded the authorities for their quick action and arrest of the suspects.

“I thank the Department of Justice for its swift action on the case of John Matthew Salilig, indicting seven fraternity members linked to his death,” he said. “I also thank the Philippine National Police for being hot on the trail of the suspects.”

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