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ABANTE TO DILG: PROBE HAZING IN THE PNP

With a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) being the latest victim of hazing, a lawmaker is urging the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct an inquiry into the prevalence of a “pernicious practice” that continues to claim lives despite the passage of laws intended to punish those engaged in hazing and to prevent hazing-related deaths.

In a privilege speech delivered late Monday afternoon, Deputy Majority Leader Benny Abante Jr. expressed grief and outrage over the death of 32 year-old PNP Patrolman Jaycee De Guzman Ramores––assigned to the 503rd Maneuver Company of the 5th Regional Mobile Force Battalion, in San Jacinto, Masbate––who died on July 26, 2022 as a result of injuries allegedly sustained from hazing.

According to a post-mortem report issued by the Ticao District Hospital, where Ramores was treated, the policeman died as a result of cardiorespiratory arrest, deep vein thrombosis secondary to pulmonary embolism, and multiple physical injuries secondary to blunt trauma. 

“Twenty-seven years after Congress passed Republic Act Number 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1994––and four years after this body revisited the law and passed Republic Act Number 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018––hazing unfortunately continues to cut short the lives of promising young men, and continues to cause unspeakable pain to their families,” lamented the solon.

“The people that did this is likened to what the book of Proverbs said: for they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.”

According to a post-mortem report issued by the Ticao District Hospital, where Ramores was treated, the policeman died as a result of cardiorespiratory arrest, deep vein thrombosis secondary to pulmonary embolism, and multiple physical injuries secondary to blunt trauma. 

Following the death of Ramores, the PNP formed a Special Investigation Task to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. 

Abante informed the House that as a result of the inquiry, on August 4, the PNP’s Bicol Police Regional Office filed charges against the 21 police officers who were involved in the alleged hazing incident. The 21 officers, members of the 503rd Maneuver Platoon of Regional Mobile Force Battalion 5, were charged before the Masbate Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. 

While acknowledging that those allegedly responsible for the death of Ramores have already been charged and that “the wheels of justice have now been set in motion,” the Manila 6th District representative was concerned that “the more time passes, the greater the likelihood that this case will be forgotten.”

Concerned that 41 lives have already been claimed by hazing despite the passage of anti-hazing measures in 1995 and 2018, Abante said that “action must be taken to ensure that Patrolman Ramores does not become a statistic, and does not become another entry in a long Wikipedia list.” 

“Hindi natin pwede hayaan na ibaon lang ito sa limot, mga kaibigan. More must be done, Mr. Speaker, so that history does not repeat itself, and so that families are spared from the pain that the Ramores family will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” said the legislator.

Abante informed the House that as a result of the inquiry, on August 4, the PNP’s Bicol Police Regional Office filed charges against the 21 police officers who were involved in the alleged hazing incident. 

“It is clear, Mr. Speaker, that laws against hazing are not enough.  When our police––those who are tasked to enforce our laws––engage in a practice that is explicitly prohibited by law, then we have a problem on our hands,” said the House leader.

Abante asked: “Is this an isolated case or indicative of a dangerous trend?  How prevalent is this in the Philippine National Police? Bakit ba nauuso ang ganitong mga gawain kahit may batas na ipinagbabawal ito?” 

To determine the origins and the extent of hazing practices in the ranks of the PNP, Abante said he would file a resolution urging the DILG to conduct an inquiry into the death of Patrolman Ramores.

The same resolution will also call on the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, and the National Youth Commission, to conduct anti-hazing campaigns “to aid efforts to stamp out this practice in our schools once and for all.”

“Ang bawat buhay ay mahalaga.  Every life matters.  Let us do our part to eliminate hazing in our police and in our schools––and to end the cycle and culture of violence that has resulted in the death of Patrolman Ramores and so many before him.”

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