The House Committee on Justice on Wednesday has approved a measure seeking stricter punishments on hazing that may be penalized with life imprisonment.
The House Bill 3467, which revised the old anti-hazing law, provides stiffer penalties to eradicate the practice of hazing rituals in student and community organizations including sororities and fraternities.
Under the revised House Bill, a 20 years to life imprisonment will be imposed to those who are involved in deadly hazing rites which result in death, mutilation, sodomy, rape, and serious psychological effects. The amendment on the penal provisions was approved by the council.
Aside from imprisonment, the measure also includes a P1-million penalty.
According to the author of the bill and Bagong Henerasyon Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy, the measure first wanted to provide 20 years to 40 years penalty for hazing.
After the approval of the bill, Herrera-Dy said in an interview that even though penal provisions have increased, the decision to punish those who took part in hazing rituals is still up to the court.
“We’re also punishing students who made a mistake. Pwede pa silang magbago. Hindi naman premeditated or intentional murder [We’re also punishing students who made a mistake. They can still change. It is not premeditated or intentional murder],” Herrera-Dy added.
Meanwhile, Kabayan Representative Harry Roque’s move to fully declare fraternities and sororities illegal was disapproved by the committee. Herrera-Dy said that he can’t stop the existence of an organization just because it made a mistake.
The author stressed that whilst the old anti-hazing law seeks to control hazing, the revised measure seeks to ban the hazing rites entirely. The bill seeks to expand the proscription on physical and psychological injuries to include community associations.
It also requires these groups to register with schools or local government units, and for the organizations to be handled by a faculty adviser. In addition, a member’s consent to the hazing rite also does not absolve the offender from accountability.
The Justice committee’s approval of the new measure follows the death of University of Sto. Tomas law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III who suffered from hazing.