In light of the recent hazing death of a neophyte from the College of Saint Benilde, Senator Vicente Sotto III is calling for a stricter anti-hazing law to minimize incidences of the violent fraternity ritual that has claimed the lives of numerous young adults.
Sotto seeks to impose a life sentence on officers or members of fraternities or sororities who participate in any form of hazing, no matter the outcome of the hazing.
In this regard, the Senator has filed Senate Bill No. 97, looking to amend Section 4 of Republic Act 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995; in specific, to elevate the penalties to life imprisonment.
Under the proposed amendment, “any officer or member of the fraternity, sorority or organization shall be deemed principals to hazing and shall inflict on them the penalty of reclusion perpetua.”
“[Hazing] is a senseless brutal initiation rite that has claimed a number of young and promising lives. It is a barbaric act that has no place in modern society,” Sotto’s statement read.
The current law mandates life imprisonment only “if death, rape, sodomy or mutilation results therefrom,” with the severity of the penalty dependent on the condition of the victim.
“How many promising lives, how many parents are still going to endure the pain of seeing their love ones die, or get maimed, in the hands of these barbarians? We have to stop this violence on our children. Our educational institutions should be beacons of hope, not of death. We cannot allow another death,” Sotto emphasized.
The hazing death of Guillo Sevando, 18, a student from De La Salle College of St. Benilde has brought the issues surrounding the crime back into focus. Sevando died on June 28, 2014 after initiation rituals for the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.
Ten to fifteen members of the fraternity face charges, but at least two of the suspects have already fled the country. Meanwhile, one of the suspects is being considered as a state witness.