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Gatchalian confident of swift consolidation of anti-hazing bills

A member of the majority bloc in the House of Representatives expressed confidence of the swift consolidation of four anti-hazing measures, which seek to impose stiffer penalties on people who will be found guilty of hazing.


Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian issued the statement after concerned government agencies that attended first committee hearing on the hazing-related bills pose no opposition on moves to amend or repeal Anti-Hazing Law of 1995.


“I’m optimistic on that we can hasten the unification of proposed measures on Anti-Hazing since there seems to be any major opposition from the stakeholders, implementers and concerned groups,” Gatchalian said.


Last week, the House Committee on Revision of Laws appointed Gatchalian to lead a technical working group (TWG), which will consolidate all hazing-related measures filed before the Lower Congress.


In the hearing, several representatives from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Central Colleges of the Philippines (Cocopea) agreed on lawmakers’ move to propose amendments that will add teeth on the 19-year old law.


On behalf of the PNP, Police Superintendent Joel Urduna said they support a total ban of hazing and frat violence regardless if it was done by amending or completely repealing the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995.


“The police wants to support, in particular, the stiffer penalties and imposition of sanctions on those people, who are not members of fraternities and sororities but are present in the hazing activity,” Urduna told the panel.


John Antonio Dionisio, assistant executive director of Cocopea, also welcomed the bills proposing to change the Anti-Hazing Law.


“We do not mind if the law is repealed or amended as long as proper sanctions are met and imposed,” Dionisio explained.

Lawyer Melvin Suarez, who represented the DOJ, manifested “no legal objection on the lobbied amendments” but expressed reluctance to make any position on a bill that proposes to repeal the existing law against hazing.


Suarez asked the panel to give them a reasonable period before they formally support or object Gatchalian’s House Bill No. 4714 or the Servando Act, which found the current Anti-Hazing Law inefficient.


“The so-called Anti-Hazing Law is a misnomer. It does not prohibit hazing but only regulates it. We need a new law that will put an end to violent hazing which has caused several deaths in the past,” Gatchalian said.   (Tim Alcantara)