Amid the outrage over the recent spate of hazing incidents across the country, including the death of Philippine Military Academy cadet Darwin Dormitorio in September, a neophyte lawmaker is seeking to introduce amendments to the anti-hazing law which he hopes could end hazing’s culture of impunity.
Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles, who is pushing for the amendments and a member of an Ateneo Law-based fraternity himself, believes that neophytes who join organizations knowing that they will be hazed, should also be held liable under the law as accomplices.
“We hope that they will be deterred from joining orgs (organizations) with a hazing culture.”
“In many cases, students join organizations despite knowing that they will be hazed. We hope that they will be deterred from joining orgs (organizations) with a hazing culture if they are aware that they, too, could punished by the law,” said the Harvard-trained lawyer.
Such accomplices, however, will have a way out said Nograles. All they have to do is testify for the prosecution in a hazing case.
According to Nograles, victims who wish to speak out against the acts perpetrated against them will be made state witnesses.
“If we afford these victims the protection of the law, to give them assurances against possible retaliation, perhaps future hazing cases would prosper more than fail,” the solon said.
Conceding that the situation being faced by cadets in the armed forces and the public safety corps who are being maltreated could be different, Nograles’ bill provides that there would be two elements before a victim is considered an accomplice to hazing.
“We should make our anti-hazing law more stringent.”
First, the applicant must intentionally and deliberately allow himself/herself to be a hazing victim.
Second, the hazing victim must knowingly cooperate in the actual execution of hazing, meaning that acts of hazing must be performed and that the victim willfully allows himself/herself to be subjected to such acts.
“If we are to end the culture of impunity in organizations that maltreat their prospective members, we should make our anti-hazing law more stringent,” Nograles said.
“Gaya nga ng madalas sabihin, walang maapi kung walang nagpapaapi,” he added.