NO THOMASIANS were involved in the recent hazing incident that claimed the life of a sophomore taking up hotel and restaurant management at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde last June 28.

On June 30, UST released a statement on its Facebook page disproving the claims of three fraternity neophytes who said UST students led the initiation that killed Guillo Cesar Servando.

“A quick but thorough verification of UST’s automated records revealed that Mr. Trex Garcia and Mr. Hans Tamaring are not UST students,” UST said in reaction to a newspaper report identifying the two as UST students.

The University expressed grief over the incident and offered prayers for the family and friends of Servando.

“We shall monitor the progress of the police investigation and shall extend full cooperation with the proper authorities with the end in view of identifying and punishing the persons guilty of this reprehensible crime,” the statement added.

On July 1, authorities discovered that the fraternity involved in the initiation was Tau Gamma Phi and not Alpha Kappa Rho (Akhro), as identified by the three neophytes who survived the hazing.

Manila Police District (MPD) Chief Supt. Rolando Asuncion said in an interview on DZMM, the neophytes might have misled the police with wrong information for fear of the consequences they faced in their college. Fraternities are not banned in St. Benilde.

In a statement last July 1, Tau Gamma Phi said “[We are] deeply troubled by news reports that some of [our] members have been involved in the fatal hazing of Servando.”

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According to the MPD, one suspect has surrendered to the police while 15 others are still at large. The initiation rites happened in a boarding house in Makati, as confirmed by caretaker Jomar Pajarito.

Recognition of fraternities

Lawyer Antonio Chua, director of the Student Welfare and Development Board, said that in UST, fraternities and sororities should comply with the student handbook and should meet the requirements before being recognized by the University.

“As a requirement, we [oblige] them to submit all the names and contact numbers of the members of the fraternities,” Chua said.

The Office for Student Affairs also requires fraternity and sorority officers and members to attend an annual anti-hazing seminar.

“[There is] only one university-wide fraternity and that is APO. All the others (fraternities and sororities) are college-based like in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and College of Civil Law,” he said.

Hazing has been banned in the country for two decades now in accordance with Republic Act No. 8049, popularly known as the Anti-Hazing Law.

According to the law, if an aspiring member suffered from physical injuries or dies during an initiation, participating officers and members of the fraternity will be held responsible. “The person or persons who participated in the hazing shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua if death, rape, sodomy or mutilation results there from,” the law stated.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) said in a statement last July 2 that it was a serious responsibility for higher education institutions (HEIs) to comply with the Anti-Hazing Law.

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“CHEd reminds all private and public HEIs to be vigilant and institute measures to regulate recruitment and initiation activities,” the statement said. Dayanara T. Cudal

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