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To hazing perpetrators: “Wala na kayong takas sa susunod”

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Parents of hazing victims University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III and De La Salle-College of St. Benilde sophomore student Guillo Cesar Servando meet at the Senate, 12 Feb 2018, as the Upper Chamber approves the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, a measure that seeks to completely ban hazing as a pre-requisite for admission in a fraternity, sorority or organization and to impose stiffer penalties. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Now that the Senate has approved Senate Bill No. 1662, otherwise known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, Senator Win Gatchalian has a warning for hazing perpetrators: Make the most out of this final chance to change your ways before the new law goes into effect.

Sa oras na maisabatas ang panukalang ito, tinitiyak ko na wala na kayong palusot na maaari pang gamitin para takasan ang inyong mga maling gawi at pananagutan. Kaya ang simple kong panawagan ay sana itigil niyo na yan bago pa mahuli ang lahat sa inyo. Wala na kayong takas sa susunod,” said Gatchalian, co-author of the measure.

(“Once this bill becomes law, I assure you that you will run out of ways to escape liability for your wrongdoings. So my appeal to you is simple: Put a stop [to hazing] once and for all, before it is too late. You won’t be able to get away with it the next time around.”)

The senator pointed out that since both chambers of Congress have already approved their respective versions of the anti-hazing bill, it was “all but certain” that the final version of the bill would be delivered to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature before the end of the current school year.

“This is an achievement that anti-hazing advocates have long awaited. Finally, after years of tireless dedication to the cause, we are so close to implementing meaningful legal reforms which will completely prohibit hazing in all its forms and ensure that those who commit hazing – and anyone who would dare conceal or cover-up their crimes – will be held accountable for their crimes before the courts of law,” he said.

Gatchalian also commended the families of hazing victims, many of whom were in attendance at the Senate for the passage of SBN 1662: “[Their] strong and courageous voices have had a fundamental impact in shaping this legislation, so that hopefully, no more families will have to go through what they have endured because of hazing.”

SBN 1662 is the substitute bill, reported out by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, which consolidated several proposed bills, including Senate Bill No. 199 (The Anti-Hazing Act of 2016) filed by Gatchalian as one of his priority bills at the start of the 17th Congress.