By Martin Sadongdong
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde is optimistic that the newly signed Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018 will totally eradicate the cases of hazing in the country in the coming years.
However, the country’s top cop admitted that it would take some adjustment before the Philippines could finally achieve a “zero-crime” incident related to hazing.
“Honestly, probably we still have several cases [of hazing] that are not being reported to authorities. We cannot immediately expect a zero-crime incident even after that law was signed,” Albayalde said.
“That’s the way it is. There is a time for adjustment and we will do that little by little until eventually, it will be eradicated,” he added.
Albayalde admitted that even in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), there are still cases of hazing that are being conducted as part of the cadets’ discipline although the number of such activities has gone “very low.”
“In the PMA, it has been [a part of] its history. Almost all of the PMAers would deny that but [I] can’t. We’ll be lying if we say that there are no hazing rites inside. We expect that because it’s been a long cherished tradition there,” explained Albayalde, a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.
He also justified that the hazing rites inside the PMA often do not include the excessive use of force, only enough to teach the cadets a lesson, although he said there were a number of casualties reported in the past.
With the new law, the PNP chief expects that hazing incidents will initially be minimized until it would be totally eradicated after some adjustment.
Compared to the RA 8049 which only regulates hazing, President Duterte signed on June 29, 2018 the tougher Anti-Hazing Law which prohibits such act; regulates other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities and other organizations in schools including the military and police; and penalizes those who will violate it.
The newly signed law also provides penalties of reclusion perpetua and a fine of P3 million to those who participated in the hazing if the act results to death, rape, sodomy or mutilation; and reclusion temporal and P1 million to those all present, those who will try to hide the fact that the incident happened, and those who will obstruct any investigation to be conducted.
The new law was signed barely two months before the first death anniversary of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III, who died after undergoing initiation rites at the hands of the Aegis Juris fraternity on September 17, 2017.