MANILA — Aegis Juris leader Arvin Balag on Monday agreed that the practice of hazing should definitely be abolished.
“It (hazing) should be defined and hazing should be abolished,” Balag said during the third Senate hearing into the alleged hazing death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
Balag is currently detained in the Senate after being cited in contempt for repeatedly invoking his right against self-incrimination.
He made this remark after Senator Panfilo Lacson asked the parents of Atio, Horacio Jr. and Carminia, what recommendations or amendments they could give to strengthen the anti-hazing law and prevent deaths due to hazing.
Lacson is chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in charge of conducting the hearing.
Mrs. Castillo said that aside from strengthening the law and abolishing hazing, the university should also be involved in laying out measures to prohibit unrecognized organizations from operating.
“The school has to be involved, the law has to be strengthened, and really abolish the practice of hazing. I hope the process is really abolished,” Mrs. Castillo said.
Mr. Castillo, for his part, echoed his wife adding that hazing is “useless.”
“We should abolish hazing. It is useless, we don’t need it,” the victim’s father said.
“After becoming lawyers, when you look back you would say to yourself ‘It didn’t do anything for you to become good people and become defenders of this country,’” he added.
Before Balag agreed that hazing should be abolished, he apologized to the committee for repeatedly invoking his right against self-incrimination and refusing to answer even the simplest of questions.
Senators asked Balag if it is true he was president of the Aegis Juris fraternity but he refused to admit it even if there were documents to prove it.
“I would like to apologize for the last hearing. It was never my intention to disrespect the committee,” Balag said.
He said that he was not incumbent president when the initiation rites done to Atio took place because he ceased to be an officer last August 17.
Lacson said that although he was inclined to release Balag, he filed a petition for certiorari, which is a writ or order by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court.
“(So) in the meantime you’ll stay a little longer in the Senate premises,” Lacson said.