Senator Ronald Dela Rosa wants to give more teeth to the law on hazing by making schools accountable, and penalizing them if found negligent in implementing the law.
Dela Rosa noted that hazing can cause serious injuries and even death of school fraternity neophytes undergoing the so-called initiation rites.
Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief, made the observation during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights led by Senator Francis Tolentino jointly with the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs panel headed by Dela Rosa.
The panel called the hearing following the hazing death of John Matthew Salilig, a 24-year-old chemical engineering student of the Adamson University (AdU).
Dela Rosa joined Senator Raffy Tulfo in proposing to amend the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 to penalize negligent school administrators after it was learned that no orientation was given by the school to the Tau Gamma Phi members involved in Salilig’s death.
It was also gathered that the fraternity was not recognized by AdU.
The fraternity leaders claimed they did not know it was a requirement of the Anti-Hazing Law.
Tau Gamma Phi is considered ‘outlawed’ by the school for failing to register and non-adherence to the no-contact policy in initiation ceremonies.
“I agree with Senator Tulfo in the amendment he will make to impose heavier penalty on the schools due to failure to follow the loco parentis doon sa estudyante,” Dela said.
The ‘loco parentis doctrine’ means the responsibility of a parent to a child is the same responsibility of the school to its students.
Dela Rosa said amending the Anti-Hazing Law is the proper procedure since while it is provided in the law that “schools should conduct orientation briefing on membership in a fraternity or sorority every opening of the semester or trimester to all the students,” there was no liability provided for failure to conduct an orientation.
Dela Rosa also said the AdU is playing “Pontius Pilate,” meaning washing its hands by saying that the Tau Gamma Phi is not recognized by the school.
“It’s tantamount to saying that wala kaming pakialam sa inyo, mga fraternity. But you know of the existence of these fraternities in the school. You are the director of Student Affairs,” he told AdU’s Jan Nelin Navallasca.
“There are alleged presence (of fraternities). So, you know their existence, but why did you not regulate? It means you are washing your hands.
Navallasca said that based on the record, they have been conducting orientation since 2018 for first-year and second-year students from the NSTP (National Service Training Program) classes.
Dela Rosa urged AdU to penalize students who will not follow the rules on Anti-Hazing by kicking them out of the university.
Under the law, school officials have the authority to impose disciplinary penalties to the head and other officers of the fraternity, sorority, or organization who fail to register or update their roster of members.