“Let this legislation be a testament that the following persons did not die in vain and were never forgotten.” —Sen. Panfilo Lacson
It’s finally done.
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 11053, otherwise known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018.
According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, this law was meant to remind us of the injustice inflicted on those who died while being hazed.
Lacson mentioned several hazing victims who made it into the news. These were Mel Honasan, Leonardo “Lenny” Villa, Raul Camaligan, Earl Karl Initia, Norel Borja Jr., Guillo Servando, Christian dela Cruz, Marc Andre Marcos , Cris Mendez , Gonzalo Albert, Ferdinand Tabtab, Arbel Liwag, Frederick Cahiyang, Felipe Narne, Joselito Hernandez, Mark Roland Martin, Alexander Icasiano, Rafael Albano III, Marlon Villanueva, Dennis Africa, Mark Rodriguez, Menardo Clamucha Jr., Nor Silongan, Ariel Inofre, Anthony Javier, Elvis Sinaula and Horacio Tomas Castillo III.
“Let this legislation be a testament that the following persons did not die in vain and were never forgotten,” Lacson said when he introduced the Senate bill last January.
The senator said the need for a stronger anti-hazing law became apparent upon the death of Horacio Castillo III, who “was offered not only during his tenure as a law student at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, but also during the Bar review and even in his future practice of the law profession.”
“Apart from the guarantees made known to him, Atio decided to join the fraternity with a specific goal in mind, to discover his real purpose in life,” Lacson said. “Little did he know that his search for purpose would cost him his life.”
“Atio Castillo sought to join a brotherhood in search for his purpose in life,” Lacson added. “Since there’s no more life to speak of, let his death serve the purpose of ensuring that the misery of hazing and the employment of appalling rituals will no longer be imposed in the name of brotherhood.”
R.A. 11053 expanded the definition of hazing and its scope.
Under the said law, hazing refers to “any act that results in physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, neophyte, applicant or member as part of an initiation rite or practice made as a prerequisite for admission in a fraternity, sorority or organization, including but not limited to paddling, whipping, beating branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or ay other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical and psychological health of such recruit, neophyte applicant, or member.”
Hazing shall also include “any activity, intentionally made or otherwise, that tends to humiliate or embarrass, degrade, abuse or endanger by requiring a recruit, neophyte, applicant or member to do menial, silly or foolish tasks.”
The law’s scope has been expanded to also include the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Military Academy, and other similar uniformed institutions.
The new Anti-Hazing Law also specifically barred citizen’s military training and citizen’s army training from conducting hazing.
However, the law recognized the AFP and the PNP did have “physical, mental and psychological testing and training procedures and practices to determine and enhance the physical, mental, and psychological fitness of prospective regular members of the AFP and the PNP.
Because of this reality, the said law the AFP and PNP’s training “shall not be considered as hazing” provided these were approved by the “Secretary of National Defense and the National Police Commission, duly recommended by the Chief of Staff of AFP and the Director General of the PNP.”
The new law imposed the following penalties for those found guilty of hazing.
“The penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3,000,000 shall be imposed upon those who actually planned or participated in the hazing if, as a consequence of the hazing, death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation results therefrom,” according to Section 14 of the new law.
The law also took a very dim view of those members of the Philippine Bar and those holding licenses under the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) that become involved in hazing.
Those implicated Bar members will be subject immediately to “disciplinary proceedings by the Supreme Court” and those holding professional licenses would be also subject to the same proceedings by the PRC.
“The imposable penalty for which shall include, but not limited to, suspension for a period of not less than three years or revocation of the professional license,” the law emphasized.
All those who were present during the hazing will be given the maximum penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period and a fine of P1,000,000.
“A fine of P1,000,000 shall be imposed on the school if the fraternity, sorority, or organization filed a written application to conduct an initiation which was subsequently approved by the school and hazing occurred during the initiation rites” or when Section 5 of the law was violated.
The owner of lessee of the place where the hazing occurred will also found liable under the new law.
The law also stipulated that “a person charged under this Act shall not be entitled to the mitigating circumstance that there was no intention to commit a grave wrong.” G