“You Are Your Brother’s Keeper”
IT is very frustrating that in this modern times that there are still fraternities and sororities who believe that inflicting physical harm on the neophytes or recruits during initiation rites is needed to qualify them as member of their brotherhood or sisterhood. Such physical harm includes hitting the neophytes by a paddle or by 2” x 2” wood, or dripping lighted candles or putting off lighted cigarettes on the skin of the candidates. Such pre-requisite is so barbaric. Did they not realize that those who experienced such tortures may do the same to the next batch of neophytes? Why do they want to do such harm to their prospective “brothers” or “sisters”?
There had been many deaths reported due to hazing during the initiation rites. Those deaths led to the passage of Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049, which was enacted in 1995. Despite the existence of the said law, why are there still deaths during initiation rites? Why do these fraternities and sororities continue to inflict serious physical violence leading to the death of their neophytes? Was there absence of teeth in the said law?
The Anti-Hazing Law does not prohibit hazing in the initiation rites, it is merely regulated. What is prohibited is the “employment of physical violence in hazing.” It is defined by 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 RA 8049, in order for hazing to be valid, the following conditions must be complied with: “(1) Prior written notice to the school authorities or head of organization seven (7) days before the conduct of such initiation. (2) The written notice shall indicate the period of the initiation activities which shall not exceed three (3) days, shall include the names of those to be subjected to such activities. (3) The written notice shall contain an undertaking that no physical violence be employed by anybody during such initiation rites. (4) At least two (2) representatives of the school or organization should be present during the initiation. It is the duty of such representative to see to it that no physical harm of any kind shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant.
The Anti-Hazing Law considered hazing as a criminal offence and listed the penalties of life imprisonment if death, rape, sodomy or mutilation results from the act. Other penalties of imprisonment were also implemented by the said law, depending on the severity of the results of the criminal offence on the neophytes or recruits.
The officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals. The presence of any person during the hazing is prima facie evidence of participation therein as principal unless he prevented the commission of the acts.
“The officers, former officers, or alumni of the organization, group, fraternity or sorority who actually planned the hazing although not present when the acts constituting the hazing were committed shall also be liable as principals. A fraternity or sorority’s adviser who is present and failed to take action to prevent the same from occurring shall likewise be liable.”
“Third parties are also punished by the law such as the owner of the place where hazing is conducted shall be liable as an accomplice, when he has actual knowledge of the hazing conducted therein but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring. If the hazing is held in the home of one of the officers or members of the group, the parents shall be held liable as principals when they have actual knowledge but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring. The same goes for the school authorities who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring.”
The Anti-Hazing Law should be amended. Physical violence inflicted on the neophytes or recruits should be outlawed. Members who are under the influence of liquor should also be prohibited from participating in the initiation rites because drunk persons lose his self-control and discretion.Alumni should not be allowed during initiation rites because they would do to the neophytes what they experienced during their initiation rites. The law must be strictly enforced, which unfortunately is not being done.
The observance of the National Laity Week at the Diocese of Kalookan was held on the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, who together with San Pedro Calungsod, is one of the two patron saints of the Laity. The celebration at San Roque Cathedral was led by the Council of the Laity of Kaloookan (CLK) headed by its President Atty. Aurora A. Santiago.Bro. Virgilio “Boyet” Rafael, CLK Vice President and Couples for Christ Area Headfor Luzon and Bahrain in the Middle East, talked about the “Families as Instruments of Communion, Participation and Mission”.The seminar was attended by the different lay organizations and renewal movements and parish pastoral councils of the Diocese.Holy Mass was also celebrated and presided by Rev. Fr. Leandro “Adrian” Magnait, Vicar for Lay Organizations and Lay Movements, with concelebrants Rev. Fr. Jeronimo Ma. “Jerome” Cruz, Vicar General and Rector of San Roque Cathedral, and Rev. Fr. Roger Ginit, guest priest at San Roque Cathedral.
Two Batches of Task Force Salubongin San Roque Cathedral Parish and Birhenng Lourdes Parish in the Diocese of Kalookanwill graduate this coming October. The graduates are persons with substance use disorder (SUDs) who surrendered to the authorities and who are under the Diocese’s Rehabilitation Program.The Program is in coordination with the local government’s anti-drug abuse centers and the Philippine National Police. After graduation, they will be delisted from the “drug watch list”. The Diocese will continue to give them spiritual and psychological formation and livelihood programs, through out-of-town retreat with their families. Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David, Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan,believes that these persons with substance use disorder should be encouraged to return to their previous life when they were not yet under the influence of illegal drugs. They need to be reformed spiritually and psychologically.