No one knew of past hazing rites? UST officials grilled in Senate

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Irvin Joseph Fabella, faculty member at UST Civil Law and Aegis Juris Fraternity adviser from 2010-2016. Photo by Joelle Alison Mae P. Eusebio

HAS HAZING been happening right under the noses of UST administrators?

Senators questioned UST’s policies on college fraternities as they resumed on Monday an inquiry into the death of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III following the hazing rites of Aegis Juris Fraternity.

This came after the admission of former Aegis Juris secretary Mark Anthony Ventura that he went through hazing last year, during initiation rites similar to what Castillo went through.

Read: WHO DID WHAT: Gov’t witness Mark Ventura spills beans on frat brods

Read: Aegis Juris fratman turns government witness in Atio hazing case

Frat members Jason Robiños and John Paul Solano had said in previous Senate hearings that they also went through hazing.

Asst. Prof. Irvin Fabella, adviser of Aegis Juris from 2010 to 2016, claimed he wasn’t aware of hazing rites in the law fraternity during his time. He said he was only involved in two major frat activities — the Bar Exam operations and anniversary celebrations held every December.

UST Office for Student Affairs (OSA) Director Socorro Guan Hing, who was named to the post only this year, said advisers of fraternities should be “actively involved” in all activities of the fraternity.

“The corresponding advisers [should] monitor to be actively involved. For example, if [an] organization will plan an activity, it should be done together with the adviser…the adviser has to go through the different parts of the activity; where it will be conducted [and] how it should it be conducted should have gone [under the adviser’s] scrutiny,” Guan Hing said during the Senate probe.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian was baffled that none of the advisers had any knowledge of past hazing incidents in UST.

“This (hazing) is a criminal act, go deeper into this problem and come up with a more proactive approach,” he said.

“I’m really disappointed with the measures undertaken by UST. Let’s be proactive. Buhay ang nakasalalay dito,” he added.

Read: UST admin dismisses claims it was indifferent to Atio’s death,

Read: Admit to your fault and let justice to be served, UST Rector tells Aegis Juris fratmen

Related: Ban Aegis Juris, Bishop Bacani tells UST

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri urged UST officials to implement clearer fraternity recruitment policies, since Castillo was able to join Aegis Juris despite a memorandum released by the Faculty of Civil Law last Feb. 24 prohibiting the recruitment of freshmen.

“The [OSA] said the [Aegis Juris Fraternity] is not recognized [this year]. What do they mean about recognized? How come [the fraternity] is still recruiting members? Last June or July the fraternity should have [been] banned from recruitment and Atio should not have died,” Zubiri told the Varsitarian.

Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina told senators during the inquiry he merely presumed that fraternities had stopped recruiting freshmen because of his Feb. 24 order.

Guan Hing said the University was planning to issue a moratorium on the different activities of fraternities and sororities, without going into details.

Section 2 of the Republic Act 8049 of the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 states that “no hazing or initiation rites in any form by a fraternity, sorority or organization would be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization.”

Section 3 states that the head of the school or organization must assign at least two representatives to monitor initiation rites of a fraternity.

Sen. Grace Poe said the OSA’s system had to be reevaluated.

 

To investigate and expose unspoken issues and anomalies, send confidential news tips to the Special Reports team of the Varsitarian at specialreports.varsitarian@gmail.com or at THE VARSITARIAN office, Rm. 105, Tan Yan Kee Student Center, University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila.

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