Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Bill on Hazing in Manila

New Bill on Hazing in Manila, Philippines
MANILA, Philippines
June 20, 2012

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

A new bill wants stronger penalties against hazing, and its proponent ispushing for lifetime imprisonment of fraternity members found defying RepublicAct 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law.

Bagong Henerasyon partylist Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy wants toamend the law which currently metes out a maximum penalty of 40 yearsimprisonment for offenders.

"We should make all hazing a crime with penalties ranging from fines tolife imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the  incident,"Herrera-Dy said. The partylist representative filed House Bill 6084 under whichprovisions all hazing activities will be declared illegal, instead of justbeing regulated under the present law.

"This proposed legislation also opens perpetrators to civil, as well ascriminal, liability for their participation in hazing activities,"Herrera-Dy said.

The bill defines hazing as an "intentional, knowing, or reckless act bya person acting along or acting with others that is directed against anindividual and that the person knew or should have known, endangers thephysical health or safety of the individual."

The definition "includes, but is not limited to, pressuring or coercingthe individual into violating the law, any brutality of a physical nature, suchas whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of aharmful substance on the body, or similar activity, exposure to the elements,forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance."

It also covers "any activity that would subject the individual toextreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced confinement in a smallspace, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that could resultin extreme embarrassment, or other forced activity that could adversely affectthe mental health or dignity of the individual."

The bill would, however, exempt from coverage "procedures and practicesto determine and enhance the physical, mental and psychological fitness ofprospective regular members of the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) and thePhilippine National Police (PNP)." Also exempted are "customaryathletic events or other similar contests or competitions or any activity orconduct that furthers a legal and legitimate objective."

For hazing that results in death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation, a penalty oflife imprisonment is proposed. Violators face 17 to 20 years imprisonment ifthe hazing victim "become(s) insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind.

"Violators also face the penalty of 14 to 17 years imprisonment if thevictim shall have lost the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, orshall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg. Likewise, if thevictim shall have become deformed or shall have lost any other part of hisbody, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill orincapacitated rendering the victim not fit to work for a period more than90 days, the penalty on the guilty party shall be 12 to 14 years."

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