Senator: UST officials 'pointing fingers' at each other on who is responsible in hazing case

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(File photo) Senator Win Gatchalian

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — The Senate investigation on the hazing death of Atio Castillo resumed Monday, and lawmakers are now looking into the university's accountability in the case.

During today's hearing, senators accused officials of the University of Santo Tomas of being negligent and incompetent.

READ: Senate panel slams UST officials for negligence, incompetence in hazing case

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Senator Win Gatchalian said it was clear school officials were pointing fingers at each other as to the entity or department responsible for approving activities of organizations such as fraternities.

"It's very clear na nagtuturuan yung mga school officials (that they're pointing fingers at each other), between Dean Divina and Director Guan Hing. They were pinpointing to each other as to who is the responsible entity," he said referring to UST Law Dean Nilo Divina and Director of the Office of Student Affairs Ma. Socorro Guan Hing.

RELATED: Senate resumes probe on death of Atio Castillo

Another glaring issue revealed during the hearing, Gatchalian says, was that all student organizations were assigned a "student adviser."

"According to Director Guan Hing, the student adviser is in charge of all of the activites, monitoring and supervising the activities of these fraternities and other groups," Gatchalian said.

 

Gatchalian added the student adviser of the Aegis Juris fraternity did not detect any student hazing activity ot initiation rites in the six years he was assigned to them.

"Parang wala siyang alam [It was like he knew nothing], or maybe he's also denying the fact that he knows what was happening in Aegis Juris," the senator said.

"The mechanisms that were put by the school clearly is ineffective, and also the procedures were not so clear whether who is really in charge of accrediting and approving the activities of organizations," Gatchalian said.

He went on to say the school cannot simply wash its hands of the case; the school's action of informing students of the barring of hazing was insufficient.

The existence of several fraternities in UST means "there's also a high probability" that hazing was happening.

Gatchalian added, the school does not have a proactive approach and is apparently clueless of the hazing or initiation rites being carried out by fraternities on its premises.

The senator pointed out two important outcomes from Monday's hearing, one was being specific about the school's responsibility and to punish them if they "are remiss in terms of their responsibility and in terms of fighting hazing in their own respective school and colleges."

The other thing, according to Gatchalian is the cover up that can happen after the crime.

"Makikita natin yung ibang [We can see the other] lawyers – in fact members of Aegis Juris – met, strategized, and came up with discussions on how to conceal evidences on how to cover up the crime," he said.

Gatchalian said lawmakers will now propose that even people who were not present during the hazing but involved in the cover up or attempted cover up after the actual incident should be held liable as well.