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Gone are the days where royals and imperials and people of high social standing would throw

unknowing
civilians into the fray to fight for skirmishes all on their own, and ironic as it may sound, all for the spirit of alliance
and camaraderie. Gladiators prove their worth through different pledges, squires become shield bearers for
knights before they can become a knight themselves, even our own Katipuneros swore loyalty by means of blood
oath.

The world has long changed, however, with the advent of laws suppressing acts of hazing as initiation rites
for fraternities and sororities, this did not stop the members of Aegis Juris Fraternity from claiming the life of one
of our brethren, Horacio Castillo III.

Hazing is not a recent phenomenon, it goes a long way. It has roots in ancient Greece, medieval Europe,
and even during the American’s colonial period. Returning soldiers from wars brought military-style hazing to
college campuses. The pledge period soon grew to weeks or months, devolving into the orgy of abuse so familiar
today. Early hazers doled out beatings, force-fed vile substance, and staged kidnappings. Shielded by vows of
secrecy, many chapters still carry on this lethal tradition.

The death of Leonardo Villa from the hands of Aquila Legis Fraternity in 1991 paved way for the
enactment of Republic Act No. 8049, otherwise known as Anti-Hazing Law. Since its enactment in 1995, the deaths
due to hazing did not really stop as there are at least 15 who have died, while many reported sustaining injuries
from the rites. Moreover, the said law does not really prevent hazing from taking place. From the title itself, RA
8049 is an act “regulating,” not prohibiting, hazing. Most often than not, this practice is only put in the spotlight
when people are killed, as the law really only goes after those responsible if the hazing rites result in injuries or
death. Over 2 decades since its passage, there has only been one conviction for hazing.

While it’s true that one of the rights vested to us by the 1987 Constitution is the right to organization, no
reason, logic, nor justification can suffice the misfortune inflicted by Castillo’s “brothers.” People join organizations
to pursue and protect their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means.
In Castillo’s case, he sought to join the fraternity so that he may have assistance during his stay in law school but,
however, he sealed his fate when he joined Aegis Juris. His interests and aspirations were and will never be
fulfilled.

In 2012, former law professor and now Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te wrote that “by not
defining hazing as a criminal act per se, subject to specific very narrowly-drawn exceptions, the law itself
guarantees that hazing will continue.” Section 2 of RA 8049 legitimizes hazing by the mere expedient of giving
notice. Thus, as defined in Section 4, hazing is a criminal act only when death, rape, sodomy, mutilation, etc. results
there from.

Amendments to the statute may take time because of the legislative process. So long as this ineffective
law is in force, so long as it is not amended, more people will follow Horacio’s footsteps, more people will meet
their untimely demise, more mothers will weep for their sons, and more fathers will have to bury their heirs. The
cycle will continue and lives will still be lost—all in the name of brotherhood.

Sources:

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/
http://www.chanrobles.com/antihazinglaw.htm#.WdUHmWiCzIU
http://www.businessinsider.com/fraternities-hazing-pledges-history-2017-9
http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/9753-death-and-brotherhood
http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/183279-fast-facts-anti-hazing-law-philippines
http://m.philstar.com/782974/show/08a97f734fc9925ba2a43dbcfa287798/?