September 13, 2007

A Primer (of sorts) on The Hazing Law (RA 8049)

For a more constructive debate and a clearer idea of what the Hazing Law can do or cannot do --

Q. How is hazing defined?

A. As used in the law, hazing is an initiation rite or practice used as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority, or organization. (sec. 1)

Q. How is it done?
A. Under RA 8049, the essence of hazing is "placing the recruit, neophyte, or applicant in some emarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him(her) to do menial, silly, foolish and similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury." (sec. 1) [My observation: the only difference apparently between hazing as defined and recitation in the UP Law School is that the law student is already in the college of law but the neophyte is still aspiring to enter.]

Q. Who are covered by the hazing law?
A. Any club, or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Military Academy, or officer and cadet corps of the Citizen's Military Training or Citizen's Army Training except those "physical, mental and psychological testing and training procedure and practices to determine and ehance the physical and mental and psychological fitness of prospective regular members" of the AFP, PNP as approved by concerned government officials. (sec. 1)

Q. When is hazing allowed?
A. It is allowed only if there is a prior written notice to the scholl authorities or head of organization seven (7) days before the initiation; the notice shall indicate the period of the initiation which shall not exceed three (3) days, shall include the names of those to be subjected to the activities and shall "contain an undertaking that no physical violence be employed by anybody during such initiation rites."(sec. 2) [My observation: Yeah, right.] Additionally, under section 3, the head of the school or organization or their representative must assign at least two (2) representatives of the school or organization to be present. It is the duty of such representative to see to it that no physical harm of any kind shall be inflicted upon a recruit, neophyte or applicant. (My observation and query: now who was the representative during the hazing of Cris Mendez? Your guess. . . should be kept to yourself unless you want to be sued for libel. )

Q. What are the legal consequences of hazing? Who are liable for hazing?
A. It depends on what happens to the neophyte or applicant.

a) If he/she is physically injured or dies as a result of hazing (whether authorized or otherwise), the officers and members of the fraternity, sorority or organization who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals and shall suffer a range of penalties raning from prision correccional (six months and one day to six years) to reclusion perpetua (20 years and 1 day to 40 years), depending on the extent and nature of injuries inflicted (if death results, the penalty is automatically reclusion perpetua). The maximum of the penalty, in each case, will be imposed if: (a) the recruitment is attended by force, intimidation, violence or deceit; (b) the person who decides to quit is prevented from doing so; (c) the person, after being hazed, is prevented from reporting the incident to parents, police or other authorities; (d) the hazing is committed outside the school or institution; (e) the victim is below 12 years old at the time of hazing.

b) The owner of the place where the hazing is done is liable as an accomplice when he actually knew that hazing would be conducted but failed to prevent the same; if the hazing is held in the home of any of the officers or members, the parents are liable as principals when they have actual knowledge of the hazing and failed to prevent it.

c) The school authorities including faculty members who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to prevent the same are liable as accomplices.

d) The officers, former officers, alumni who actually planned the hazing although not present when the acts are committed are liable as principals. Officers or members who knowingly cooperate by inducing the victim to be present are liable as principals. The adviser who is present when the acts are committed and failed to take action is liable as principal.

e) The president, manager, director or other officer of a corporation engaged in hazing as a requirement for employment.

Q. What is the liability of a person who is merely present?
A. The presence of any person during a hazing is prima facie evidence of participation as a principal unless he prevented the hazing.

Q. Can the mitigating circumstance of "no intention to commit so grave a wrong" or praeter intentionem be allowed?
A. No, under sec. 4, this mitigating circumstance is expressly disallowed.

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