By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The signing of the law banning hazing in fraternities and organizations proved that law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III did not die in vain.
Senate Majroty Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said this as he paid tribute to the slain university student with the President Duterte’s signing of Republic Act (RA) No. 11053 which provides stiffer penalities for all forms of hazing in fraternities, sororities, and organizations in schools, including citizens’ military and army training.
Zubiri, a close friend of Castillo’s family, even called this the “Atio Castillo law.”
“Because it was really him who sparked the anger amongst everyone, parents, students and even the elderly and the clergy and basically everybody who had children, who love their children and who have decency in their hearts. And we are so happy that it is finally put into law,” Zubiri told reporters in a briefing Wednesday night.
“We dedicate this to Atio Castillo. He did not die in vain and his legacy lives on in this law,” he added.
With the enactment of the new law, Zubiri warned organizations against plans of continuing hazing of all forms.
“Please take note of that unless you want to be prosecuted in the courts of law,” he said.
“The only thing now we have to follow up with is convictions. Because for justice to finally be made, the conviction of the win in the courts are what is necessary to be able to get justice for Atio Castillo,” he noted.
The Senate had conducted a series of inquiries on the fatal hazing of 22-year-old Castillo in an initiation rite by the Aegis Juris Fraternity September last year. The investigations also put in spotlight the lapses of the RA 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995, including the measures being done by universities regarding such activities.
RA 11053, signed by Duterte last June 29, prohibits paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity, as a prerequisite for admission in an organization.
The law imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million upon those who participated in the hazing if the act results to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation. Those who participate, cover-up, or obstruct investigations on hazing will be penalized with reclusion temporal and a P1-million fine.