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Senseless death

By: Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate

Another life was senselessly lost due a senseless tradition that some fraternities still keep – hazing.

The death of Horacio Tomas Castillo III, a law freshman from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), which was ruled by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as another fraternity hazing case, suggests that hazing is a fraternity culture that, at the very least, some fraternities still maintain.

This case once again raises the question – what should be done to finally end this kind of senseless death?

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre emphasized that fraternities cannot be outlawed as it will be against the constitutional right to form and be part of an association. He is right. Prohibiting the organization and continued existence of fraternities is not the answer to the question of what should be done to finally end death through hazing.

Secretary Aguirre also maintained that the Anti-Hazing Law is “strong enough” and was in fact strengthened after hazing cases in the past years. He even noted that the strength of the law can be seen from the convictions of many fraternity officers in past hazing cases. Is Secretary Aguirre right again on this matter?

Is the Anti-Hazing Law strong enough for fraternities to totally abandon their hazing tradition?

The current case of Castillo shows that in this respect, the law is not strong enough. The existence of the said law appeared to have no effect on how Aegis Juris Fraternity of UST admits “brothers.”

Can’t parental love prevail in ending the hazing tradition of fraternities?

The pain that parents have to bear for the death of a child because of hazing was clear in the media interviews with the father of slain UST student.

Considering that fraternities in colleges and universities in the country have members who are now fathers, can’t they draw from the love they have for their children in making change in the tradition of these fraternities?

Will it be less painful for a fraternity man to lose a child because of hazing?

Every time a life is senselessly lost due to fraternity hazing, the nation focuses on the issue. The condemnation of the act, the prosecution of those responsible, and the “strengthening“ of laws are among the things we usually do when somebody died from hazing.

These actions are obviously not enough but they are nonetheless necessary because without such insufficient actions, the problems cause by hazing will be a lot worse. But we should not also stop doing more because if we do, fraternity hazing will claim more lives.

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