MANILA – Lawmakers from the Upper Chamber expressed on Wednesday their concern over the death of John Matthew Salilig, an Adamson University student who was recently found dead in Imus town, Cavite province.
According to the initial investigation of the police, Salilig was attending the initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity in Laguna province on Feb. 18 and was later reported missing that day.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa urged the fraternity and the school administration to initiate additional measures in protecting students against hazing.
“I am not for banning fraternities but they should police their ranks. The school administration is very crucial kasi(because) the police cannot be around every square-inch of the directorate. So in the ranks ng (of) fraternity and sorority organizations, they have to police themselves. At yung school ay dapat mag-add ng additional measures para maiwasan yan (And the school must add additional measures to avoid this),” Dela Rosa said in an interview during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay.
“Maximized na yung Hazing Law talaga eh. Andyan na lahat, nilagay na lahat. Proactive measures na lang siguro sa (The hazing law has already been maximized. Everything is there, all was already included. Maybe proactive measures are needed on the part of the) school administration,” he added.
Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, also urged the fraternity seniors to educate their younger ranks to avoid hazing incidents.
Condemning the death of Salilig, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said while the Adamson University has initiated its investigation and the Tau Gamma Phi’s Triskelion Council of Imus City has vowed openness to collaborate with the bereaved family, it is crucial to stay vigilant until justice is served and those involved are held fully accountable.
“I am also urging our government agencies and our partners from schools and communities to ensure that the mechanisms provided for under the Anti-Hazing Act are in place to protect our youth. One life lost to hazing is one life too many. Hindi na natin dapat pinalalagpas ang ganitong mga uri ng karahasan, lalo na sa ating mga kabataan (We should not let this kind of violence, especially to our youths),” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Passed in 1995, the Anti-Hazing Law regulates initiation rites and prohibits physical harm and violence against applicants.
It mandates that no hazing or initiation rites shall be allowed without prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization seven days before the event where at least two representatives of the school or organization must be present.
The law also states that “if the person subjected to hazing or other forms of initiation rites suffers any physical injury or dies as a result thereof, the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals.”
Life imprisonment will be imposed on individuals involved if initiation rites result in death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation.