ZAMBOANGA - A third year college student died after allegedly undergoing hazing rites in Sitio Abong-Abong, Pasonanca Village, Zamboanga City Wednesday.
Police identified the victim as Anthony Javier, 18, a computer science student at Western Mindanao State University.
Supt. Haywien Salvado, head of Zamboanga City police station 7, said Javier and two other students joined the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.
They underwent initiation rites without the knowledge of the fraternity's higher officials and the school administration.
Maricel Javier, mother of the victim, said Anthony sustained contusions on both legs as a result of the hazing and physical violence conducted by the members of the fraternity.
Police said one of the two other students who also underwent hazing was hospitalized but is now in stable condition.
Police are still looking for the third student who refused to be brought to the hospital.
In a follow-up operation, police operatives arrested seven members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity who allegedly took part in the initiation rites.
Most of the arrested suspects are teenagers, ages 18 and 19 years old.
Some parents rushed to the police station upon hearing that their children were arrested. Most of them were in shock upon learning that their children joined a fraternity.
Salvado said they are still looking for other fraternity members who were also involved in the initiation rites that killed Javier.
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The police official stressed that hazing is prohibited by law. Based on Republic Act 8049, a law that regulates hazing and other initiation rites in fraternities, sororities and other organizations, employing physical violence to the newcomers in initiation rites is considered a criminal offense.
Initiation rites are also not allowed without prior notice to the school administration, if the fraternity is duly recognized by the school, seven days before the activity will be held.
The law imposes reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment against persons who participated in the initiation rites, if and when a person died of hazing.
Atty. Ed Sanson, dean of the College of Law at the university, said the school will conduct a separate investigation on the incident.
He said if they find due cause, the school will expel the students who participated in the hazing rites.