An author of a proposed bill seeking to replace the “Anti-Hazing Act of 1995” has lauded the Department of Justice or DOJ for its swift filing of cases against those responsible for the death of hazing victim, Guillo Servando.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian commended the DOJ for lodging criminal complaints against 14 Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity members who were responsible for the death of Servando and injuries to three other neophytes.
“We commend the DOJ’s prompt action which led to the filing of the case. However, the Benilde community, student councils and organizations as well as fraternities and sororities who are against all forms of hazing should closely follow the case to make sure that the principal suspects in Servando’s death will be meted the maximum penalty,” Gatchalian said.
“This shows the sincere commitment of the government, especially the DOJ, in bringing justice to hazing victims. I hope this will serve as a warning to those fraternities and sororities which up to now tolerate hazing practices among their neophytes,” he added.
Last Tuesday, the DOJ filed before the Makati City Regional Court a case for violation of Republic Act 8049 or the “Anti-Hazing Law” against 14 Tau Gamma Phi fraternity members. They are identified as:
- Cody Errol Morales,
- Daniel Paul Martin Bautista,
- Kurt Michael Almazan,
- Esmerson Nathaniel Calupas,
- Hans Killian Tatlonghari,
- Eleazar Pablico III,
- John Kevin Navoa,
- Vic Angelo,
- Mark Andrew Ramos,
- Michael David Castañeda,
- Justice Francis Reyes,
- a certain alias Kiko,
- alias Bea, and one Jane Doe.
In a resolution dated Nov. 5, the DOJ said “there exists probable cause” to charge the 14 in court since they “were present during the final initiation rites of victims Servando, John Paul Raval, Lorenze Anthony Agustin, and Levin Roland Flores on June 28, 2014.
The DOJ also explained they “were the ones who conducted the initiation rites of the four neophytes … without notice and authority from school authorities concerned,” stated in the resolution.
Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed the case against Jemar Pajarito, Luis Solomon Arevalo, Carl Francis Loresca, Steven Jorge Peñano, Ma. Teresa Dayanghirang, and Alyssa Federique Valbuena.
The DOJ adopted the defense of Pajarito, the caretaker of the house where the initiation rites were held who claimed he had earlier had no knowledge of what was happening at the house.
On the other hand, Arevalo, Loresca, Peñano, Dayanghirang, and Valbuena, while present during the initiation rites did not inflict any injury on the neophytes.
Servando, an 18-year-old student of the College of St. Benilde, was found dead at a condominium unit on Taft Avenue, Manila on June 28, 2014 that prompted Gatchalian to file “House Bill 4714”.
Also known as the “Servando Act”, the bill seeks to ban all forms of hazing which the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995” failed to do as it merely regulates the practice of hazing by fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.
Gatchalian, a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC also commended the Philippine Air Force or PAF for immediately detaining 22 of its personnel who were involved in the hazing of a cadet of the PAF’s Officer Candidate School.
One of the 22 is a junior officer who was part of the training program, while the rest are cadets of the OCS.
“R.A. 8049 (‘Anti-Hazing Law’) merely seeks to regulate hazing when it should ban it outright according to its formal title. Anything less than the express prohibition and criminalization of hazing is not enough,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, who heads the technical working group tasked to consolidate all related bills on hazing, said a Philippine National Police or PNP report that showed 11 hazing-related fatalities from 2000 to June 2014 is “indicative of the 1995 Anti-Hazing Law’s failure to put a stop to all forms of hazing among fraternities”.
On the PAF-OCS hazing incident, nine of the 22 cadets involved were recommended for discharge while the 13 others whose names were withheld are under investigation. The PAF personnel have been detained since August after the alleged hazing happened during training at San Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas.
Two cadets, who were not identified, were reportedly confined in a hospital after sustaining injuries from hazing but they have since went back to training.
“Military training for officers can be done rigorously even without hazing or any form of body contact. It’s a good thing that the PAF leadership does not tolerate hazing and this should be emulated by other branches of service in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Gatchalian concluded. (Monica Cantilero)