THE COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHEd) has urged higher education institutions to strengthen the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law following the death of a UST law freshman who allegedly went through hazing rites.
“[CHEd] calls upon [higher education institutions] to review and tighten their compliance with the provisions of the Anti-Hazing Law and existing CHEd rules and regulations governing the recognition of and activities of fraternities and sororities,” the commission said in a statement on Monday.
CHEd condemned the “senseless death” of 22-year-old Horacio Castillo III and called on UST to cooperate with authorities and impose the appropriate punishment on those responsible.
“We call upon the school authorities and the members of the UST academic community to cooperate in order that the truth and circumstances surrounding the death of Castillo be known and the guilty parties made liable under the anti-hazing law, as well as the civil laws of the country,” the CHEd statement added.
The University administration has launched an investigation, vowing to “leave no stone unturned.”
Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law defines hazing as an initiation rite that subjects new recruits in a fraternity to “menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury.”
School authorities must be informed seven days before initiation rites are held. The law requires at least two representatives from the school or organization to be present during initiation rites.
Castillo, a UST Faculty of Civil Law freshman, was found dead on Sunday after joining “welcome” rites for new members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity last Saturday.
His body bloated and bearing bruises and burns from candle wax and cigarettes, Castillo died as a result of a massive heart attack, police said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguire II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday to conduct a parallel probe and file charges against those involved in the hazing rites.