By: Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola
The Senate might approve by the end of this year the bill repealing the existing Anti-Hazing Law as many of its members have expressed support for the move amid the recent death of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student Horacio Castillo III.
Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said yesterday he is confident that his fellow senators would agree with him in speeding up the passage of the bill that would finally prohibit hazing and other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.
“I guarantee you, the measure will get unanimous support. Hopefully by December it would be approved,” Zubiri said in radio interview.
Zubiri said “at least 12 senators” have already expressed support to the repeal of the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995. The existing law, he said, only “regulates” hazing and is tantamount to allowing the act.
The senator said that while the law had a “good intention,” its provisions lacked the teeth to hold accountable those involved in fatal hazing rites.
He did not discount that the dismissal of several cases of hazing were due to the connections of fraternity members to “high-profile” prosecutors and judges.
Zubiri last week filed Senate Bill 1591 following the death of the 22-year-old Castillo in hazing rites by the Aegis Juris fraternity accredited by the Espana, Sampaloc-based school.
Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto, and Gregorio Honasan have also filed similar measures pushing for a total ban on hazing.
The Senate Committee on Public Order is set to conduct an inquiry on Castillo’s death tomorrow.
Castillo’s parents, according to Zubiri, have confirmed their attendance to face one of the suspects, John Paul Solano, who surrendered Friday before Sen. Panfilo Lacson in Taguig City.
The two witnesses who have sought the National Bureau of Investigation are also expected to attend the hearing.