MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the death of San Beda Law student Marvin Reglos who died from injuries sustained in an alleged hazing incident.
De Lima bared the victim's family got in touch with her, seeking for help.
The NBI Death Investigation Division will conduct the probe, the Justice chief said.
However, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will remain the lead agency investigating the case.
"Ipapaimbestiga ko yan sa NBI. I was able to talk to the sister of the victim, nag-text siya sa akin kanina and she is seeking the help of the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the NBI... I also talked to Sec. Jesse Robredo, sinabi ko dapat ang PNP ang maglead sa investigation; ang NBI mag-parallel through its Death Investigation Division," De Lima said.
"So magiging instruction ko is to conduct an honest to goodness -- a very thorough -- investigation para talaga malaman ano talaga ang tunay na nangyari. Kung hazing, sino ba ang involved doon sa hazing at sino ba talaga ang nanakit sa kanya na nagcause ng death," she added.
Reglos, who sustained severe bruises on several parts of his body, was brought on Sunday night to the Unciano Medical Center in Antipolo City by two unidentified men. He was declared dead on arrival.
Two alleged fraternity members were later arrested as they were trying to supposedly check on Reglos' condition.
Frat allegedly involved 'allied' with de Lima's sorority
De Lima, an alumna of the San Beda College of Law herself, told Reglos' family she made initial inquiries about the victim, and it turned out that Reglos was a neophyte in a fraternity allied with the Justice chief's very own sorority.
De Lima said she disclosed this information to the Reglos family.
"Based on my initial inquiry kanina, it shows that the victim was a neophyte of the Lambda Rho Beta fraternity, the ally fraternity of the sorority that I'm a part of which is the Lambda Rho Sigma sorority... If it's true that he died of hazing then ang involved fraternity dyan is the Lambda Rho Beta so I told the sister of the victim in the interest of full disclosure... wala namang problema sa kanila," she said.
De Lima said she is all the more determined to get to the bottom of the incident given the possibility that an ally fraternity may be involved in the alleged crime.
"It's very alarming on my part na malaman na ang involved na fraternity is the fraternity na allied sa sorority ko but the more that I would want to really know the truth kung sino sino ang involved. We have an Anti-hazing Act, it's a criminal act. Mayroon nang SC (Supreme Court) decision sa Lenny Villa case, 'di pa ba tayo natuto or learned enough from those tragedies?" De Lima said.
She added that there is a need to review the anti-hazing law in order to exact "command responsibilty" of fraternity leaders who allow or who, themselves, initiate hazing.
The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in Villa's case, finding 5 fraternity men of the Aquila Legis fraternity responsible for Villa's death in initiation rites in February 1991. News on the High Court decision came out on Monday.