A veteran lawmaker has deplored the reluctance of university administrators to cooperate with police authorities in their investigation of violent hazing incidents, particularly on the case of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde or DLS-CSB student Guillo Cesar Servando.
In a statement, Valenzuela Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian expressed disappointment on the administration of DLS-CSB for refusing to provide records of its two students to authorities who are still trying to identify those responsible for Servando’s death.
“The fact that Benilde officials want a court order before they give records of students involved in the Servando case is an indication of their refusal to be accountable in fraternity-related incidents,” Gatchalian said.
The authorities have already obtained the names of two prime suspects in the death of Servando based on the statements taken from one of the three other neophytes who underwent violent hazing in the hands of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity chapter at the DLS-CSB.
Last July 3, the Makati City Police identified two of the suspects as Cody Errol Morales, 22, said to be the Lord GT (Grand Triskelion) of the TGP-DLS-CSB chapter and Pope Bautista, who is the fraternity secretary.
Six other Tau Gamma Phi fratmen were identified only by their nicknames: Emeng, who is said to be the master initiator; Navoa, Rey Jay, Mike, Kurt, and Louie.
Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, noted this is the same attitude of University of the Philippines (UP) officials who have remained mum on the case of an unnamed 17-year-old UP student.
A week before Servando’s death, a UP student was hospitalized for two days after undergoing initiation rites at the hands of members of Upsilon Sigma Phi inside a building in Quezon City.
The UP Diliman administration has issued a statement confirming that there was a “fraternity incident” but said it was not giving details pending an investigation.
Gatchalian maintained that Republic Act 8049, popularly known as the “Anti-Hazing Law”, has not been effective in putting a stop to violent hazing, saying the same law does not hold school administrators accountable whenever injuries and death results from initiation rites conducted by fraternities.
The legislator observed that whenever there are incidents of violent hazing involving their students, the standard reply of school administrators is that they prohibit fraternities and they discourage students from joining such groups.
“Educational institutions should be held accountable in case neophytes suffer physical harm or worse, death. Parents entrust their children’s safety to school authorities, who should be able to monitor what is happening in their own backyard and be liable for any trouble, especially hazing,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, a former Valenzuela City mayor, is now pushing for the repeal of R.A. 8049 and is proposing a bill that hopes to put an end to the practice of violent hazing, which has resulted in several deaths of promising young students.
“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 the senseless death of Guillo Cesar Servando and serious injuries to a UP-Diliman student,” he argued. (Monica Cantilero)