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Think before you hit: Duterte signs law imposing stiffer penalties for hazing

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President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure providing for stiffer penalties for persons who engage in hazing rites that would result in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation.

Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 prohibits hazing and regulates other forms of initiation by fraternities and sororities.

It amends Republic Act 8049, which merely regulates hazing. The old law was passed in 1995, years after the death of Aquila Legis Fraternity neophyte Lenny Villa due to hazing.

Congress passed a stronger law prohibiting hazing following the uproar over the death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died during the hazing of Aegis Juris fraternity.

Under RA 11053, the definition of hazing has been expanded to include “physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant or member as part of an initiation rite or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity or sorority or organization.”

Among the acts considered as hazing are paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance or any brutal treatment or forced physical activity likely to adversely affect the physical and psychological health of such recruit.

Those who planned or took part in hazing which results in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation will be slapped with a penalty of reclusion perpetua or jail time ranging from 20 to 40 years, and a P3-million fine.

The new law against hazing also penalizes persons who will try to cover up hazing activities.