The Senate repealed on Monday the Anti-Hazing Act on third and final reading, banning all forms of hazing following the hazing death of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
Nineteen senators voted in favor, the bill, which amends Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 and imposes harsher penalties. The bill will be referred to the House of the Representatives.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said the bill sought to fully prohibit hazing in initiation rites, contrary to the existing anti-hazing law that permitted hazing provided that the fraternity, sorority or organization submitted a written notice to the school seven days before the initiation.
The bill seeks lifetime imprisonment and a fine of P3 million on those who participated in hazing rites that lead to death, rape, sodomy or mutilation.
Hazing was redefined in the bill as “any physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte or applicant as a form of initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission or a requirement for continuing membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization.”
“Paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug… [and] any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity” which would affect the physical and psychological health of the neophyte are also defined as acts of hazing.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, legal counsel of the Castillo family, proposed amendments to the Anti-Hazing Law amid the ongoing preliminary investigation at the Department of Justice on the hazing incident.
Among the amendments are requiring fraternities, sororities and similar organizations to submit the name of a faculty adviser who should have knowledge of, and consent to, the activities of the organizations.
At least two school officials are required to be present to oversee initiation rites and submit a report of everything that transpired during the initiation to the school administration.
Participating officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization will be fined P1 million and sent to 12 to 17 years in prison if proven to have committed violations.
If hazing occurred and the school failed to assign a representative to the initiation rite, a fine of P1 million will be imposed on the school.
A fine of P1 million and imprisonment of 12 to 14 years will also be imposed on alumni and non-resident members of a fraternity or sorority who obstruct justice.
The bill, proposed last Jan. 23, was authored by Senators Gregorio Honasan, Sherwin Gatchalian, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Paulo Benigno Aquino IV and Lacson