UP Diliman probes fraternity amid hazing allegations

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University of the Philippines Diliman (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman has launched a probe into the hazing claims against the Sigma Rho Fraternity, the Office of the Chancellor confirmed Friday.

In a statement, university officials said they have placed “suspects” under preventive suspension after posts linked to the supposed rites went viral.

“We have placed suspects on preventive suspension and will file formal charges where there is evidence to support such a move,” the Office of the Chancellor wrote in its statement.

“We condemn all forms of violence and all acts that covertly or blatantly disregard the rule of law,” it added.

Hazing claims in the premier state university were put on the spotlight anew following a viral social media post that showed a student’s bruises from the alleged fraternity ritual.

In a now-deleted Twitter thread, an anonymous user shared screenshots of alleged conversations among the fraternity's members. One photo even showed a “paddle”— which is commonly associated with fraternity initiation rites.

The viral posts drew calls from netizens, lawmakers, and the university-wide student council to put a stop to "fraternity-related violence" on campus.

“Such violent cases are no different from perpetrated violence by repressive state apparatuses such as the PMA’s recent case of hazing that led to the death of 20-year-old Darwin Dormitorio,” the UP Diliman University Student Council said in its statement. “With what has transpired in the past few days, it is clear that accountability is a must.”

The university said officials are further strengthening the anti-hazing law provisions of the university's Code of Student Conduct. It also called on students to report similar violations of the university code.

The fraternity has yet to release a statement as of writing.

Apart from the hazing claims, screenshots of the fraternity members' supposed lewd conversations about their thoughts on their sorority sisters -- UP Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority -- also surfaced online.

The sorority, in a statement, denounced the actions of their counterparts, and called for full accountability and probe of the fraternity.

"Our true alliance is with our fellow women. We cannot and will not settle for anything less than what every woman deserves, and in these trying times, we will not be silenced," the sorority said.

Republic Act No. 11053 or the "Anti-Hazing Act of 2018" bans all forms of hazing and orders the regulation of initiation rites — physical and psychological — of fraternities, sororities, and organizations to make it safer for recruits.

It penalizes violators with up to 40 years imprisonment and a P3-million fine if a hazing rite leads to death, rape, sodomy, or mutilation. Authorities and others present during a hazing incident will also be imposed a fine and up to 40 years imprisonment.

READ: Dormitorio narrates PMA upperclassmen's punishment for allowance spending