By BEN R. ROSARIO
Manila, Philippines – Saying stringent laws are needed to stop fraternity hazing, a party-list solon has proposed the imposition of life imprisonment on fraternity officials involved in hazing rituals that result in death.
Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy recently filed House Bill (HB) No. 6084 as she noted that the death of law student Marvin Reglos last February is a clear indication that fraternities are still practising brutal hazing rites as part of their membership acceptance.
Herrera-Dy, vice chairwoman person of the House Committee on Welfare of Children, said the death of Reglos, a San Beda College law student, should serve as a reminder to lawmakers on the need to pass measures that would put an end to fraternity violence.
“We should make all hazing a crime with penalties ranging from fines to life imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the hazing incident,“ Herrera-Dy said.
She recalled the Lenny Villa hazing case that highlighted a number of issues related to anti-hazing legislation, some of which have already been corrected between the time of the incident and the Supreme Court’s (SC) final ruling.
“This bill incorporates both the suggested corrections by the Supreme Court in the Villa case as well as additional changes based on similarly devastating incidents and subsequent legislation in the United States,“ Herrera-Dy said.
Under the bill, all hazing activities will be declared illegal, instead of just being regulated under the present law.
“This proposed legislation opens perpetrators up to civil, as well as criminal liability, for their participation in hazing activities and ensures that perpetrators are vulnerable to the most severe criminal liability available, either through this Act or an alternate criminal penalty calling for even more severe punishment,“ explained Herrera Dy.
B 6084 defines hazing as an intentional, knowing, or reckless act by a person acting along or acting with others that is directed against an individual and that the person knew or should have known, endangers the physical health or safety of the individual.
It includes pressuring or coercing the individual into violating the law, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance.