How hazing damaged PAO chief's hearing

Posted at 07/09/2014 1:15 PM | Updated as of 07/09/2014 7:31 PM

MANILA - Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta admitted Wednesday that hearing in her right ear became damaged after she endured hazing rites for a sorority.

"Medyo humina kasi natamaan ng suntok ito (right ear). Pero malakas ang kaliwa ko, itong kanan ko natamaan,'' Acosta told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.

''Medyo [nagsisisi] dahil naapektuhan ang aking right [hearing], pero sarili ko na ang sinisisi ko."

Acosta, a member of the Lex Athenia Victoria sorority at the Ateneo Law School, blames no one for the permanent impairment she received during the hazing rites.

However, she believes it is about time to outlaw fraternities in the country since schools and law enforcement agencies still fail to effectively implement the law against hazing.

She said while the Constitution allows the right to form or join organizations, the right to life is supreme.

FRATS INGRAINED IN SCHOOL CULTURE

University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque, who also favors the total ban on fraternities, admitted that joining such groups has its benefits. He added joining fraternities has become a tradition especially in law schools.

''Sa UP, matagal na tradisyon na ang mga fratertinies, lalo na sa College of Law. Ang benepisyo eh nag-aalagaan sila lalo na pagkatapos ng law school, dahil pagkatapos ng law school it is important that you are part of a network."

''Pero ang pinag-uusapan kasi dito mga kabataaan na walang sapat na pag-iisip, kaya kahit anong gawing regulasyon hindi nawawala ang pananakit."

Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla, a member of UP's Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity, said banning fraternities is problematic since this will only drive such organizations to go underground.

''Ang mahirap dito, kapag ipag-bawal lahat iyan, magtatago sila. At kung magtatago wala ng mananagot kung may mangyayari. Mabuti nang may batas, may organization at kilala ang liderato, para kung may mangyaring mali may mananagot,'' Remulla said.

Remulla also noted that joining fraternities is also a family tradition for some, with younger members of the family joining the fraternities or sororities of their parents and grandparents.

He said the only solution to the hazing problem is the school's strict implementation of the anti-hazing policy. He said schools must make it clear to their students the great costs of holding such violent activities.

Senator Juan Edgardo ''Sonny'' Angara, meanwhile, said the current law against hazing is enough but needs to be better implemented.

''May batas na labag sa pagpatay at sa panggagahasa, pero nilalabag pa rin yun. Kung may desididong lumabag ng batas, gagawin at gagawin din iyon,'' argued Angara, a member of the UP Sigma Rho fraternity.

The death of De La Salle – College St. Benilde student Guillo Servando reignited debate on whether fraternities should still be allowed in the country.

Servando, 18, died allegedly at the hands of leaders and members of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.