Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has sought a Senate probe over the death of a freshman law student during a fraternity's hazing rights in Manila.
Zubiri filed a Senate resolution that directed "appropriate Senate committees to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation" days after the beaten and bloated body of Horacio Castillo III was found in Tondo, Manila. An autopsy report confirmed that the 22-year old died due to "massive" injuries from apparent hazing.
"Horacio's death should impel us to review Republic Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law, towards its strict implementation and refinements as needed. We should not lose our children to untrammeled machismo ending in injury and senseless death," Zubiri said in a statement.
"We have to stop senseless killings from hazing or else, our children will end as just another statistic of unsolved crimes. That is the dark probability when one lives in a country with a weak criminal justice system," he said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian echoed Zubiri's call for stricter anti-hazing laws in the country.
Of the 100 reported hazing cases since 1995, only 1 case received a conviction, Gatchalian said in a radio interview.
"Ito pong isang daang hazing incidents, ito ay mga reported lang mas marami pang hindi reported, yung mga ayaw na mag sumbong sa ating ka pulisan," Gatchalian said.
(These 100 hazing incidents were just the ones that were reported. There are more cases that were not reported to the police.)
"Makikita natin na talagang ineffective itong batas na ito at kailangan natin ng batas na magiging simple at mas madaling gamitin ng ating husgado para magkaroon ng conviction," he said.
(We can see that the current law is ineffective. We need a more simple law that can be easily used by judges to impose convictions.)
Senator Gringo Honasan also condemned hazing rights as he lost his youngest brother due to the practice.
"I remember 41 years ago when my youngest brother Mel died from fraternity hazing. My parents forgave those responsible; hoping and praying that it would help eradicate hazing. It was not to be," Honasan said in a statement.
Senator Bam Aquino urged courts to purge their dockets of pending hazing cases to ensure that these "cruel" acts will no longer be repeated.
"Kailangan nating ipatupad ito at ipursige ang pagresolba sa mga naunang kaso ng hazing upang makitang seryoso ang awtoridad na masugpo at mapapanagot ang mga nagkasala," Aquino said.
(We have to pursue and resolve prior hazing cases to show that we are serious in seeking justice.)
Gatchalian said fraternities must also cleanse its ranks from erring members as a few bad eggs may taint the image of the entire organization.
"Alam naman natin na madaming government officials, businessman at mga kasama natin sa senado ay member ng fraternity at nadadamay rin po ang kanilang mga pangalan sa mga insidente ito," Gatchalian said.
(We all know that there are a lot of government officials, businessmen, and senators who are members of fraternities. Their names may be dragged in these hazing incidents.)