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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Another neophyte bites the dust

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Two more hazing deaths this year should be enough for the national government to blacklist fraternities responsible for cases of murder and frustrated murder and possibly make not only those who directly participated in the crime but also their key leaders accountable before our courts.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said all individuals involved in the hazing death of a 25-year-old student of the Philippine College of Criminology in Manila should spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

He called on authorities to ensure the arrest and swift prosecution of those who took part in the initiation rites that resulted in the brutal death of Ahldryn Leary Bravante.

The lawmaker facilitated the passage of Republic Act 11053, or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, after Horacio Castillo 3rd, then a freshman law student at the University of Santo Tomas, was beaten to death by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity in 2017.

Zubiri condemned the latest incident of fraternity violence as appalling since it took place barely eight months after 22-year-old John Matthew Salilig died during the welcoming rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.

At least 12 members of the same fraternity were said to be behind Bravante’s death, including four who are already in police custody.

A medico-legal report revealed that Bravante’s cause of death was severe blunt trauma to both lower extremities.

The 25-year-old fourth year student suffered at least 60 blows to the body, which they believed was caused by a wooden paddle.

Bravante also suffered multiple injuries on his neck, arms and shoulder. There were also cigarette burns on his chest and hands.

“This senseless death of another young student due to barbaric fraternity tradition is not only enraging but frustrating as well as it happened despite our efforts to put more teeth to the law against fraternity hazing,” Zubiri said.

“Needless to say, the full force of the law must come down on those soulless people who killed the same person they claim to be as their brother,” he added.

We agree with the Senate President that the government should “put an end to these acts of savagery” and “ensure that those who mock our system of justice would be made to account for their misdeeds.”

Is it possible for the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity that figured in two hazing deaths this year to be declared an illegal organization and therefore permanently banned from conducting recruitment activities in campuses and communities throughout the country?

Lawyers’ groups should weigh in on this issue and suggest what can be done to keep fraternities from committing murder most foul in the name of “brotherhood.”

News reports indicate the Philippine National Police are already hot on the trail of other suspects whom they have already identified.

The sooner the 12 fratmen are all rounded up and charged in a court of law, the better it would be to keep the youth safe from the clutches of savage fraternities.


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