MANILA - School authorities are not immune to charges in hazing activities if proven that they knew that a fraternity is conducting violent initiation rites in school premises, the president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools said Thursday.
Speaking to ANC, lawyer Soledad Mawis said school officials may be held liable for being an accomplice to hazing if it knew that the fraternity employs violence in its initiation rites and failed to prevent it from happening.
"If it does, then regardless of whether the organization is accredited or not, I think the school might be held liable if it knew at the time that part of the initiation process, violence can be inflicted," said Mawis, who is also the dean of the Lyceum College of Law.
Mawis said a witness must come out and say the school officials knew that violence is a part of the initiation rites of a fraternity existing in their premises.
Aegis Jvris, the fraternity allegedly involved in the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas Student (UST) student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III, is not accredited by the school for this academic year, the university's student affairs office told a Senate probe.
Lawyer Nilo Divina, dean of the UST Faculty of Civil Law, a member of Aegis Jvris, claims he had no idea that his brods in Aegis Jvris still employ violence in their initiation rites as he has been inactive with the fraternity since he assumed deanship.
Divina, who has been under fire after the death of the 22-year-old freshman, also said Aegis Jvris did not notify the school about the initiation rites, and that he only knew about the incident after it happened.
"[Divina] said he was never put in the know that violence was still being employed by by his frat brods. Somebody must come out and say 'no, the dean knew about it,'" she said.
Meanwhile, Mawis said it is high time that schools officially recognize fraternities and sororities instead of banning them altogether, so the authorities can monitor all their activities, preventing violent activities in the process.
"I agree with accreditation because once you prohibit them, they would just go underground they would be more difficult to supervise the organizations," she said.