Hazing allegation mars DLSU's ROTC program

Posted at 07/07/2014 4:27 PM | Updated as of 07/07/2014 11:46 PM

MANILA – The De La Salle University (DLSU) has suspended a program under its Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit due to allegations of hazing.

The LaSallian, the university's official student publication, reported that the Cadet Officer Candidate Course (COCC) program of the ROTC unit has been suspended for the rest of the term while an investigation into accounts of hazing within the unit is ongoing.

The report said the university's Student Discipline Formation Office (SDFO) received a letter of complaint from the parents of a former cadet who had allegedly undergone hazing.

SDFO Director Christy Santiago said her office began its formal investigation of activities in the unit last June.

For purposes of investigation, the statements of students and former students allegedly involved in the hazing, as well as the parents of the cadet who was the subject of the complaint, have been gathered.

''The investigation is being fast-tracked and all paperwork and evidence material to the case have already been forwarded to the University Legal Counsel,'' the LaSallian report read.

In view of the ongoing investigation, the program has been temporarily suspended ''to prevent interactions between cadets that could lead to possible interference with the outcome of the investigation."

The report, however, clarified that the suspension of the program will not affect ROTC’s other socio-civic activities.

The university also hopes to settle the case within the first two terms of the academic year, and reinstate the COCC program during the second term.

Security has also been stationed at the ROTC office area to monitor the organization’s everyday activities.

The SDFO said students found guilty of participating in hazing activities will face the appropriate disciplinary actions.

The report also said that the Philippine Navy’s Naval Reserve Command (NAVRESCOM), the overseeing body of the university's ROTC program, also launched its own investigation into the allegations.

University President and Chancellor Br. Ricky Laguda FSC was quoted in the report as saying that he is aware of the occurrence of violence within and around the university, not only in the ROTC but also in other organizations.

Laguda said hazing cases have become difficult to handle because of the reluctance of some victims to come forward.

''Whether true or not, hazing has no place in the University or society in general…Hazing is intrinsically evil. People who do hazing have no conscience. Period,'' he said.

The LaSallian noted that in 1995, mechanical engineering student and ROTC cadet Seth Lopez died after undergoing hazing. Because of the incident, DLSU introduced the Non-Fraternity Contract among freshmen.