EDITORIAL| A senseless death

THE PARENTS of 22-year-old law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III, received a call Sunday, a call which all parents pray they will never have to answer.

Acio as he was called by family, asked to attend an Aegis Juris fraternity’s welcome ceremony at the University of Sto. Tomas on Saturday and that he won’t be coming home that night. According to reports, the parents were already worried when he didn’t return Sunday morning. Their anxiety came to a head when an anonymous text informed them of the fate of their son.

His body was said to have been dumped on a street in Balut, Tondo, Manila on Sunday, bearing drops of candlewax, bloated and wrapped in white blanket. Media reports claim that he could be a victim of hazing. His parents are inconsolable at the brutal end their young son went through, a life snuffed senselessly in the hands of still unknown perpetrators.

In 1991, the death of law student Leonardo “Lenny” Villa during a hazing rite spurred massive outrage on the practice of fraternities. Republic Act 8049, the Anti-Hazing Law was passed but there were still young men dying in the hands of would-be brothers in the fraternity. Isn’t that ironic?

In June 28, 2014, 18-year-old Guillo Cesar Servando, a sophomore student at a prestigious college in Manila was found unresponsive inside a condo unit along Taft Avenue in Manila. Reports said his friends called for an ambulance close to midnight but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Philippine General Hospital. Servando and three of his schoolmates were rushed after a supposed hazing ritual.

Lawyer Danilo Balucos, wrote in his column last month on this paper: “Knowing that secrecy is a common rule among fraternities, the existence of Anti-Hazing Law may not be sufficient to safeguard the lives and limbs of those who aspire to become members.  Thus, the change on fraternities and sororities must come from within, through self-regulation and policing of own ranks.

Acio, it is heartbreaking to say, may not be the last victim of hazing. Unless fraternities and sororities change their initiation rites, the Anti-Hazing Law as a remedy may just come too late to stop the deaths of young men.

Posted in Opinion