A panel has appointed Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian to lead technical working group or TWG, which has been tasked to consolidate all proposed hazing-related measures filed before the House of Representatives.
“I’ll do my best to hasten the passage of the proposed amendments in the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995,” Gatchalian said, welcoming his appointment.
Gatchalian is the principal author of House Bill No. 4714, also known as the “Servando Act” that seeks to ban hazing and to impose graver penalties on fraternities, sororities, and similar groups as well as responsible school administers.
In the committee hearing, Gatchalian reiterates his stand on the “lack of teeth” of Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 to penalize those members of organizations who committed barbaric and inhuman initiation rites to their neophytes.
“In order to stop hazing, it must be recognized by the law for what it is – a barbaric criminal act that compromises the integrity of any organization that employs it as a means of initiation,” Gatchalian explained.
“According to its formal title, R.A. 8049 merely seeks to regulate hazing when it should ban it outright. Anything less than the express prohibition and criminalization of hazing is not enough,” he added.
The Valenzuela City Congressman highlighted a Philippine National Police (PNP) report which shows that 11 hazing-related fatalities from 2000 to June 2014, saying that Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 was ineffective in stop violent initiation rites in the Philippines.
Martin Dinio, chair of Volunteer’s Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), added there have been many unreported and unresolved cases of hazing violence in different public schools.
Dinio stressed that many occurrence of hazing-related violence that are reported to VACC takes place in public high schools, contrary to the expectation that many violent groups only operates within universities and military academies.
The VACC Chair revealed that majority of these cases leads to gang rapes as minor becomes more enticed to the idea of joining fraternities and gangs, such as the True Brown Style (TBS), Temple Street Trese (TST), Alpha Kapppa Rho (AKRO), and Tau Gamma Phi.
Despite VACC’s efforts, Dinio lamented that cases concerning hazing activities and other related violence in groups continues to be unresolved as members of fraternities and sororities have strong influence over the government, particularly in the justice system.
For his part, Aurelio Servando urged the house panel for the swift passage of proposed amendments in the Anti-Hazing Law, which he believes will put an end to hazing activities in the country and give justice to the death of his son, Guillo Servando, last June 28.
“My hope is that this conquest will enact a bill that would give teeth to fully discourage these barbaric groups in continuing these activities. It is our hope that my son would be the last to give up his life and to be last to be lured by these fraternities into joining them and to be the last to be given false hope by these fraternities,” Servando said.
In the case of Guillo Servando, 20 suspects have been charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBi) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) with violating the Anti-Hazing Law in connection with Servando’s death.
Among the suspects who have left the country are Alyssa Valbuena, daughter of former Manila Councilor Erick Valbuena, John Kevin Navoa, Esmerson Calupas, Hans Killian Tatlonghari and Eleazar Pablico III. (Tim Alcantara)