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DOJ indicts 7 Tau Gamma Phi members over Salilig hazing

The Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors has indicted seven members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity over the alleged hazing death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig.

In a press briefer, the DOJ said the prosecutors found probable cause to indict Earl Romero (Slaughter), grand triskelion Tung Cheng Teng Jr. (Nike), Jerome Ochoco Balot (Allie), Sandro Victorino (Loki), Michael Ricalde (Alcazar), Mark Muñoz Pedrosa (Makoy), and master initiator Daniel Perry (Sting) for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018.

According to the DOJ, two separate criminal information for violation of the Anti-Hazing Act will be filed before the Biñan City Regional Trial Court.

“No word yet on exactly when the cases will be filed although since the resolution has already come out we can expect within the day or by tomorrow na mai-file na yung information sa korte,” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said in an ambush interview.

The body of Salilig, 24, was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite on February 28, ten days after he was reported missing.

The complaint was submitted for resolution on Friday last week.

According to the DOJ, the panel said that all the respondents planned and participated in the hazing of Salilig, neophyte and complainant Roi Dela Cruz, and two others.

It said the complainants were also able to establish that Salilig’s injuries led to his death.

“In the instant case, it was sufficiently proven that all respondents actually planned the hazing activity as a requirement of John Matthew and complainant Dela Cruz's initiation to the fraternity and actually participated in the infliction of physical injuries upon them, which ultimately resulted in the death of John Matthew,” Clavano said.

According to Clavano, Perry was the first to paddle Salilig. 

“This assertion belied respondent Perry’s averment in his counter-affidavit that he opted not to participate in the initiation rites and instead focused his attention on looking out for the health and safety of the neophytes,” Clavano said.

“Clearly having the first knack on paddling John Matthew was not consistent with looking out for his health and safety,” he added.

The other fraternity members paddled Salilig after that, Clavano said.

Victorino and Ricalde’s presence in the venue as well as their knowledge that the hazing rites were being conducted were “unequivocal indications that they were part of the planning and the conduct of the hazing," he added. 

“As to respondent Pedrosa, aside from being actually present in the initiation rites, he allegedly provided the venue in Biñan City, Laguna where the hazing was conducted. As such, his participation in the planning and conduct of the hazing cannot be denied,” he said.

The DOJ spokesperson said the panel also recommended that Adamson University conduct an investigation into the actual events.

“The panel of prosecutors also recommend that the Adamson University be called upon to investigate motu propio and take an active role to ascertain actual events and identify witnesses in order to determine the disciplinary actions they may impose,” Clavano said.

It also called on the university to provide assistance to the police.

Dela Cruz previously said that the fraternity members declined to bring Salilig to the hospital after he suffered from a seizure during hazing rites.

Meanwhile, the DOJ said two separate complaints filed by John Michael Salilig and Dela Cruz and Alexander Marcelo and Earl Abuda have yet to be assigned to prosecutors.

The complaint filed by Dela Cruz and Salilig’s brother was against Mark Rama (Ji), Levi Gianan (Sakmal), Arjay Camangyan (Snoop), Arjay Arao (Vash/Bash) Christian Mercado (Void), Lester Sus (Biggie), Carlos Rovillos (Bishop), Earl Ursolino (Thugs), Aron Cruz (Bones), Ralph Tan (Scottie), Armando Hernandez Jr. (Tyler) and a certain “Mc Gregor.”

The other complaint was filed against Romero, Balot, Victorino, Pedrosa, Perry, Hernandez, Gianan, Rama, Camangyan, Arao, Mercado, Sus, Ursolino, Cruz, Tan, Michael Ritalde (Lambert), Carlos Rovillos (Bishop), and “Mc Gregor.” 

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla gave a recommendation on how to strengthen the Anti-Hazing Law.

“Well, the fraternities must be served notices, probably, the alumni of each fraternity should be listed as among those who are part of the fraternity and who should be responsible also when things happen,” Remulla told reporters.

“Sila ‘yung nilalapitan ng fraternities para sa tulong while they exist peacefully. Pag may trouble sila din ang nilalapitan para humingi ng tulong… they are part of the legal tradition so they have to have a greater responsibility,” he added.

(Fraternities approach them for help while they exist peacefully. When there is trouble, they are also approached for help… they are part of the legal tradition, so they have to have a greater responsibility.)

The secretary, however, refused to comment when asked about his position on the use of hazing as an initiation rite.

“I will not comment on a personal point of view. We’re here to just implement the law," Remulla said. —AOL/VAL/VBL, GMA Integrated News