MANILA -- The House of Representatives is set to begin a congressional review of Republic Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law for possible amendment, once regular session resumes, with a lawmaker filing a resolution to initiate the process.
Following a series of fraternity-related violence reported in the past weeks, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon filed a resolution on Monday to initiate the congressional review.
In House Resolution No. 1267, Ridon called on the Committee on Higher and Technical Education and the Committee on Youth and Sports Development to conduct a joint congressional review of RA 8049, "with the end in view of strengthening the said law and plugging the loopholes that made its implementation futile."
"Loopholes in the Anti-Hazing Law, including the exclusion of community fraternities and sororities from the mandate of the law, and the exemption of hazing activities perpetrated by military and police training institutions from its coverage, has rendered the implementation of the law futile," Ridon said.
In 1995, Congress of the Philippines passed RA 8049 in response to public concerns on the conduct of hazing activities by fraternities, sororities, and other organizations, one incident of which resulted in the death of Ateneo de Manila School of Law student Leni Villa.
RA 8049 defined hazing as "an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him or her to do menial, silly, foolish and similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him or her to physical or psychological suffering or injury."
"Even after the above law's passage, hazing activities continued in the last two decades, which resulted in numerous fatalities, including the recent death of student Guillo Servando," Ridon said.
In HR 1267, Ridon also asked the Lower House to compel the Department of Justice to "act with great haste" in investigating and filing "criminal charges against all those involved" in the death of student Servando.
"Hazing activities and the absence of convictions that arise therefrom are a reflection of a society that breeds a culture of impunity, where victims of heinous crimes are not afforded speedy justice, especially when the accused are well-placed and well-connected," Ridon observed.
"Congress should once and for all amend the Anti-Hazing Law to ensure that hazing would be expunged from our schools and communities," he added.