In the wake of the fatal hazing of law student Horacio Castillo III, the judiciary to take a more active role in stopping hazing by being proactive and cracking down on lawyers who are involved in the practice, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Lacson said this is aside from the proposed amendments by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs to the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995.
“(T)o create an effective deterrent against hazing, active participation from the three great branches of government, namely: the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary is required. On the part of the Executive branch, the Department of Justice has already submitted the Castillo case for resolution. In addition, we recognize the fact that no less than the President of the Philippines had committed the speedy resolution of this case. With respect to the Legislative branch, the passage of amendments to the Anti-Hazing Law is deemed forthcoming,” he said.
“As to the Judiciary, their role is not limited to adjudicating the case in the event of a finding of probable cause against the accused. In the course of the public hearings, we made it clear that the Supreme Court should be proactive and responsive to the issue which obviously calls upon it to exercise its authority to discipline the lawyers involved in this case,” he added.
He particularly pushed for the disbarment or disciplinary actions on Aegis Juris members involved in the cover-up of Castillo’s death.
These include lawyers Marvi Abo, Alston Kevin Anarna, Edzel Bert Canlas, Cecilio Jimeno, Ferdinand Rogelio, Eric Fuentes, Cesar Ocampo Ona, Gaile Dante Caraan, Henry Pablo, Jr., Jet Villaroman, Cesar Dela Fuente, Nino Kjell Servanez, Manuel Angelo Ventura, III, Michael Vito, Nilo Divina, Arthur Capili, Irvin Joseph Fabella, Edwin Uy, and Allan Christopher Agati, who Lacson said “have had knowledge of Castillo’s death and failed to report the same to the authorities.”
So far, he noted there appears to be no initiative on the part of the Court to proceed against the lawyers involved in the cover-up bid.
“Mr. President, allow me to call the attention of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and all the magistrates of the High Court. We are speaking of the death of a young man who joined the fraternity in the hope of increasing his chances of becoming a member of the Philippine Bar,” Lacson said.
Meanwhile, Lacson said his committee is seeking five measures to curb hazing:
– Expanding the definition of hazing to refer to any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte, or applicant as a form of initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization, including but not limited to paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, etc.
Also included are any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical and psychological health of such recruit, member, neophyte or applicant.
– In scope/coverage, all forms of hazing, whether in school-based fraternities/sororities/organizations, or in community-based and other non-school-based fraternities/sororities/organizations. Further, hazing as a requirement for employment in any business or corporation shall likewise be prohibited.
– Schools should be more active and proactive in regulating school-based initiation rites, fraternities, sororities, and organizations are required to submit and post a written application not later than seven days prior to the scheduled date, indicating pertinent details regarding the initiation rites.
School representatives should monitor, record and report initiation rites so as to ensure that no hazing shall be conducted.
– Advisers should be appointed and presumed to have knowledge and consent on his/her part to the commission of any unlawful act in violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.
– Persons who had knowledge of any hazing acts committed but failed to report it to the authorities or those to be found guilty of hiding, concealing or hampering or obstructing lawful investigation by the authorities should be penalized.
“Mr. President, hazing needs to stop now. Awareness must be raised as to the fact that there is no unity, no brotherhood, no strength, no honor, no dignity and no respect in hazing. Hazing is merely violence and abuse,” Lacson said.