Silliman University (SU) General Counsel Atty. Myles Nicholas Bejar, briefed Silliman-based Fraternity-Sorority Alliance (Frat-Sor) about the possible revisions in the Anti-Hazing Lawduring a meeting last Feb. 15.
The Senate and House of Representatives drafted separate bills strengthening the existing Republic Act No. 8049 or Anti-Hazing Law.
In Jan. 22, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading House Bill No. 6573. On the other hand, voting 19-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading last Feb. 12 Senate Bill No. 1662.
Both bills propose to ban all forms of hazing and impose grave penalties on educational institutions and their officials for failure to implement the same.
Upon the passage of the bills, the House and Senate versions will be reconciled to make it one bill. It will then go to the president for veto or approval, Bejar said.
Hazing is defined in RA 8049 as “an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury.”
Under the Senate Bill, a school will be fined up to P1M if hazing occurs during duly approved initiation activities or if the school fails to have representatives in such activities.
It states that school officials and faculty members may be held criminally liable as accomplices, if it is shown that they have consented to conduct of hazing or had knowledge thereof but failed to prevent or report it to authorities.
On the other hand, the house bill states that faculty members and school officials will be treated as principals.
“Principals [unlike accomplices] mean that you are equally liable as the one who actually committed it. An accomplice is somebody who encourages it or even attached to it,” said Bejar.
Bejar clarified that initiation is not prohibited but including hazing as part of initiation is illegal.
“The law requires when you [frat-sor] undertake initiation activities you need to seek approval or you have to apply. The process now requires seven days before, you file an application.
“The process includes posting notices that you will have this initiation activity on a particular time, date and place. And in your initiation activity there have to be two representatives from the university to monitor because if the university does not do that, they will be fined P1M.” Bejar said.
Members of a fraternity, sorority or organization who participated in a hazing will be jailed up to 20 years and fined P1M.
Those who participated under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs would be fined P2M and would be jailed for up to 40 years.
The Senate Bill also states that hazing resulting in death, rape, sodomy or mutilation would entail imprisonment up to 40 years with a fine of P3M for individuals who participated.
Both bills require schools to conduct at the start of every semester 1) an information dissemination campaign among students on the consequences of hazing and 2) an orientation program relating to membership in fraternities/sororities/organizations.
Bejar warned, “Don’t say that you are not advised. The university is doing its job by advising all of you. If you decide not to follow the law, then you’ll have to suffer the consequences later on, but you have been properly advised.”
He added, “The time of hazing has come to an end. We have to face that because all it takes is one parent to complain.”