What lures students to join law school frats?

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2012 07:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2012 03:24 AM

Marvin Reglos, a freshman law student from San Beda College.
MANILA, Philippines - Future work in a law firm. Tips in the Bar exams. Passing grades in their classes. These and more are just some of the "perks" that lure students to join law school fraternities.

"Pinapangakuan sila. Ang kapalit tutulungan silang makapasa sa Bar exams, sa mga requirement ng professors, at minsan member din ng mga frat ang mga professors. That will encourage them to think na papasa na sila," counseling expert Karen Rimando, head of the San Beda College Guidance Office, said.

Students who join fraternities not recognized by academic institutions often come from broken families, have parents working abroad, or are illegitimate children.

"Pag separated ang parents, mahirap, nagdo-dorm, nagbo-boarding house, galing probinsiya, pumunta ng Maynila, maghahanap ng ka-grupo," Rimando said.

Marvin Reglos, the latest victim of fraternity violence, was a neophyte law student from Isabela province. He died last Sunday allegedly at the hands of Lambda Rho Fraternity members during initiation rites.

Two other alleged hazing victims also come from the province -- Jan Daryll Iringan from Tuguegarao, Cagayan, and Omar Sahibbil from Mindanao.

Rimando said students who don't join frats are most often individuals who have strong support from family and friends such that they don't desire being in another group.

Head of frat should be held responsible

The San Beda College of Law, meanwhile, is urging authorities to include Lambda Rho Beta Fraternity Grand Rhoan Eduardo Escobal as a principal suspect in the alleged hazing death of Reglos.

Atty. Risel Castillo-Taleon, San Beda College of Law Prefect of Students, said they learned that Escobal was merely "invited" for questioning by National Bureau of Investigation and was let go immediately.

Taleon said the NBI does not consider Escobal a suspect since no case has been filed yet.

But Taleon said Section 4 of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law clearly states "that officers who planned the initiation, even though not present, could be held liable as principals."

"Being the head of the fraternity, I believe there is no activity that will be done without the knowledge of a grand Rhoan," the prefect said.

First hazing death in 20 years

Taleon also clarified that the first 2 suspects who were arrested, Bodjie Yap and Erick Castillo, are no longer students of San Beda.

Yap was dismissed after not achieving the average grade required. Castillo was expelled due a fraternity-related case.

In the handbook of San Beda College of Law, it is clear that membership in organizations not recognized by the the school is a serious offense with the possible penalty of expulsion, if proven.

Taleon said while they are on the lookout for students who join banned groups, they cannot interfere with the students' right to involve themselves in an organization as prescribed in the Constitution.

"We are dealing here with adult people, professional na nga ang mga iyan, they have the right to [join an] organization."

Taleon, however, said their continuing information campaign for their students not to join organizations that employ violence or humiliation in initiation rites have been successful for at least two decades.

The last alleged hazing death in San Beda was the killing of Raul Camaligan in 1991, allegedly by members of Lex Talionis Fraternitas.