MANILA- Hazing should be classified as a heinous crime to kill the practice, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Monday.
Panelo, also the chief legal counsel of President Rodrigo Duterte, said he believes that the culture of hazing can be stopped if the act is listed as a heinous crime.
"Gawin mo ngang heinous crime iyan at responsible iyong heads and all members, tigil iyan. Sige nga, kung ikaw ang head, bakit ka naman papayag? Hindi ka na papayag siyempre. Eh ngayon hindi eh," he told reporters.
(Turn it into a heinous crime and make heads and all members responsible for it to stop. Of course, when that happens and you're the head, you would no longer allow it.)
"Personally ha, ako, gusto ko ganiyan para matigil na iyan," he said.
(Personally, that's what I want to stop the practice.)
Panelo made the statement a day after the parents of slain law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III called on lawmakers to define hazing as a heinous crime.
Castillo III died in 2017 after allegedly going through fatal hazing rites in the hands of Aegis Jvris fraternity members of the University of Santo Tomas.
The culture of hazing has been put under the spotlight anew following the death of Philippine Miliary Academy cadet Darwin Dormitorio.
Dormitorio, 20, died Wednesday after complaining of stomach pain. He was confined at the hospital twice in the previous month and had bruises on his stomach consistent with hazing.
Authorities have identified 3 suspects in his death.
Panelo added that President Duterte is angered by Dormitorio's death.
"Siyempre galit siya sa nangyayari. Alam mo si Presidente, he’s one man who is always outraged by any kind of oppression; and hazing is an oppressive act, kasi sinasaktan mo intentional. Murder nga ang dating eh kapag namatay. Siyempre ayaw niya iyon," he said.
(He is angry over what happened. The President is a man who is outraged by any kind of oppression; and hazing is an oppresive act because you're hurting someone intentionally. That's even viewed as murder when someone dies. He doesn't want that.)
The Palace meanwhile assured the family of Dormitoria that the case would be investigated.
"We will prosecute those people behind. Hindi pupuwede iyon (That's not allowed)," Panelo said.