By Ellson Quismorio and Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law on Wednesday a new law that will give more teeth to the anti-hazing law.
According to House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, the President signed Republic Act (RA) No.11053, also known as the Act prohibiting hazing and regulating other forms or initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.
RA 11053 amends RA 8049, the original anti-hazing law which was passed in 1995.
Bagong Henerasyon Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, chair of the Public Information Committee, was the major author of the measure in the House of Representatives.
The new law addresses the perceived weaknesses in RA 8049 which merely regulated hazing or initiation rites. So week was the law that only one conviction was made in the 23 years since it was passed.
Public clamor for a tougher anti-hazing law snowballed last year following the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio Castillo III while undergoing initiation rites conducted by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
Last March, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1662 and House Bill (HB) No. 6573 were consolidated and ratified by lawmakers, resulting in the final draft that was signed into law by Duterte.
The amended law provides for hasher penalties compared to RA No.8049. And unlike the latter, it also penalizes individuals who will try to cover up the alleged hazing activities of their colleagues.
RA No.11503 also covers emotional and psychological hazing, aside from physical hazing.
The law explicitly states that in no case will hazing be made a requirement for employment in any business or corporation.
The law also imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million upon those who participated in the hazing if the act results to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation.
A penalty of reclusion temporal and a P1-million fine will be imposed on all those present during the hazing, and all those who will try to hide the fact that such act happened, and those who will obstruct any investigation that will be conducted.
RA 11053 provides for harsher penalties compared to RA 8049 as it also penalizes those who will try to cover up the fact that such a hazing happened.
Calls for a tougher anti-hazing law surfaced following the death University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio Castillo III while undergoing initiation rites conducted by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
Allowable initiation rites
The law allows school-based initiation rites as long as a written application with all necessary details are made to the proper authorities at least a week before the planned date. Details include the place and date, the names of all those who will participate, and all incumbent officers of the fraternity, sorority, or organization.
The written application should state that no harm shall be inflicted on anybody during the initiation rites, and that the activity should not last more than three days.
The law also requires the head of the school or at least two school representatives during the initiation.
All existing and new fraternities, sororities, and other organizations are required to be registered with proper school activities before conducting activities on- or off-campus, including recruitment of members.
All fraternities, sororities, and other organizations are also required submit the name of names of their faculty advisers who must not be members of the respective groups.
The law also compels the schools to take more proactive steps to protect its students from the dangers of participating in activities that involve hazing.
Any form of approval, consent, or agreement made by an applicant or neophyte prior any initiation rite or proceeding that may inflict physical or psychological harm will also be declared void and unbinding.
Responsible officials from the schools, uniformed learning institutions, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), or the Philippine National Police (PNP) may impose appropriate administrative sanctions after due notice or summary hearing on violators of the law.
Meanwhile, a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P2 million will be imposed upon all who participated in the hazing, all officers and members of the organization present during the act and knowingly cooperated to carry it out, the adviser of the organization who is present and failed to take action,
If those involved are members of the Philippine bar, they shall be The law explicitly states that in no case will hazing be made a requirement for employment in any business or corporation.
If they belong to any profession under the regulation of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), they shall immediately be subjected to disciplinary proceedings and may face a maximum three-year suspension or revocation of license.