August 2, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate will conduct a legislative investigation into the death of Marc Andre Marcos, the second San Beda College student killed in a fraternity hazing this year, senators said Thursday.
Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said that two fraternity hazing deaths in a year from a single college is alarming.
"Two deaths in just five months is truly alarming. We have yet to see decisive action from San Beda officials and take any responsibility towards the care and general welfare of its students. They are morally obligated to put an end to the senseless killings by fellow students," Pangilinan said.
Marcos is the second student of San Beda College killed by hazing in 2012, following the death of Marvin Reglos in February of this year.
Pangilinan joins Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto, and senators Gringo Honasan and Panfilo Lacson in condemning the incident.
“We will make a referral to the committee on public order as a secondary committee and it can conduct a hearing to that effect, especially if the privilege speech or the matter of public interest is taken up on Monday, the committee can take it up on Tuesday,” Sotto said on Wednesday after Marcos’ relatives sought the Senate’s help to ensure that justice is served for the student’s death.
Honasan said he will convene a public hearing under the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs regarding Marcos’ death.
“The Senate President has directed the Senate Committee on Public Order to conduct a hearing in an aid of legislation to look the possibility of amending the law to address this problem once and for all including police protection if warranted for the family and witnesses will be coming forward,” Honasan said.
At the weekly Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday, Lacson vowed to look into the law that punishes hazing in the country. He said he will check if schools should be held responsible if they recognize the formation of fraternities and sororities in their schools.
“I will have to review the law, kasi parang 'di ko nakitang may liability ang school authorities. Pero dapat at the very least may civil liabilities ang mga eskwelahan 'pag may namatay o may na-injure,” Lacson said.
Lacson noted that there are provisions in the law that also covers organizations such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) wherein the head of an organization or school should be informed at least seven days before initiation rites are held.
This provision was included in the anti-hazing law so that the organizations can send representatives to ensure that the initiation rites are supervised.
“Obviously, there is no representative in the recent cases because even the San Beda College is saddened by the incident,” Lacson noted.
Pangilinan pointed out that parents entrust the care of their children to schools and that the schools are obligated to fulfill their duties as "second parents" to the students.
"San Beda as an institution cannot merely shrug their shoulders and say that it has banned fraternities and has stopped recognizing them as formal entities within their campus and are therefore not criminally liable,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said that clearly, the mere act of banning fraternities after the first death from hazing did not have the desired effect and deter these groups from victimizing their fellow students.
“The school must make concrete steps in putting a stop to these misguided people with a misplaced sense of brotherhood. They are morally obligated to do so,” the senator said.
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