Claiming he was hospitalized for hazing, Duterte says there’s no way to end it

President Rodrigo Duterte shortly before he flew to Russia for a state visit. Photo: Radio Television Malacañang video
President Rodrigo Duterte shortly before he flew to Russia for a state visit. Photo: Radio Television Malacañang video

There is no way to stop fraternities from committing hazing, President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday, while claiming that he was hospitalized for three days after being hazed himself.

Duterte made the remarks during a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before he flew to Russia for a state visit, saying he was taken to the hospital after suffering a hematoma — effectively a very serious bruise caused by damage to a major blood vessel — due to a beating he received during his law school days at San Beda University in Manila. He also said he and his brothers at his fraternity, Lex Talionis Fraternitas, sought for hazing to be removed from their organization’s application process to no avail.

Read: Dormitorio tortured and suffocated with bag days before death: police

“All of us went through [hazing]. You can’t remove that. Unless you ban fraternities for all time. Make it a criminal offense to join a fraternity, but that would raise so many constitutional issues… You really can’t stop that,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Duterte’s defeatist tone appeared to be at odds with the fact that he actually signed into law Republic Act 11053, also known as the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018, a law that banned all forms of hazing and imposes strict penalties over those who commit the crime.

The president also said he drew the line at hazing that was “carried too far,” while also appearing to condone most forms of it — as long as they stopped short of forced blowjobs.

Read: Freshman cadet Darwin Dormitorio allegedly killed over missing boots

“Human degradation where you will allow the plebes [cadets] to perform oral sex, that type [of hazing]. That’s not your job. You will embarrass your brod [brother],” he said. “That will create a lifetime [of] animosity. Make sure it’s [just] enough. If he is brought to a hospital he will survive, he won’t die. You can’t remove that, it’s been there for a long time.”

“[But] there are rules to follow. You break the rules, you go to jail.”

Duterte made the comments after being asked for his views on the matter in light of the death of suspected hazing victim Darwin Dormitorio, a freshman cadet at the Philippine Military Academy. Dormitorio was allegedly beaten up repeatedly last month by his PMA schoolmates after he lost a pair of boots that were entrusted to him.

The police are expected to file charges against the suspects sometime this week.

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