MANILA – Students should be required to divulge their affinities with fraternities to give the schools reason to penalize them in case of unlawful activities, like hazing.
At the close of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing on Monday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said declaring what organizations students belong to would somehow allow schools to track them when the need arises.
"You'll now have to put in your entry form: Are you a member of a fraternity? Yes or no? Now, if they lie on that particular issue and they are a member of a fraternity, eventually they will get into trouble in the schools, fraternity or sorority. Maybe the schools will have a reason to expel or to suspend the students," Zubiri said, adding that there are fraternities which are not school-based.
Lawyer Luzviminda Rosales, legal counsel of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges, said Zubiri's proposal would be of great help.
"That's really the problem for the universities. We are not in fact knowledgeable whether these students are actually members and there were no reported incidents of hazing in the universities," Rosales said.
The committee, chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino, is seeking to "put teeth" into Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act.
Along with Senators Ronald Dela Rosa and Raffy Tulfo, he said they urged schools to formulate initiatives that would discourage students, especially members of fraternities and sororities, from conducting hazing.
Apart from not recognizing fraternities, Tolentino said schools should be responsible for their students’ actions.
"Kapag sila po ay nagkaroon ng recognition, halimbawa sila ay naging (If they are recognized for example as an) outstanding athlete, outstanding member of the society, wala po sa loob ng eskwelahan ‘yung ginawa nila, nasa labas, pero (they achieved those outside the school) you share the same accolade and recognition. The glory belongs to the school. Pero kapag nagkaroon ng aberya, eh wala kami diyan, nasa labas na ‘yan ng (But when trouble arises, that's not on us, that's outside the) school," Tolentino said.
Col. Virgilio Jopia, Biñan City police chief, reported to the committee that seven suspects were arrested and cases have been filed in connection with the hazing death of Adamson University engineering student John Matthew Salilig.
Jopia said they are awaiting the warrants of arrest to pursue 11 other suspects after the Department of Justice finishes its preliminary investigations early April. (PNA)