PAO to help in prosecution of fratmen in two instances of death after hazing


THE Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Thursday said it will represent the families of two college students who recently died at the hands of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity members after  undergoing hazing rites.

At a news briefing, PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said her office is now preparing all the affidavits and attachments needed for the filing of violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing Law against several individuals, who are now in police custody for their involvement in the death of Adamson University chemical engineering student John Matthew T. Salilig.

Salilig, who was reported missing on February 18, was discovered dead last February 28 and buried in a shallow grave at a vacant lot at the back of a subdivision   in Barangay Malagasang I-G in Imus, Cavite.

Initial investigation showed that Salilig sustained severe blunt force trauma due to hazing that resulted in his death.

Salilig’s initiation rites took place at the family house of one of the fraternity members in Barangay Casile, Biñan, Laguna.

The student died on his way back to Manila while on board a sports utility vehicle.

Acosta said Salilig’s family sought PAO’s legal representation through the victim’s brother, John Martin.

Acosta said criminal charges are likely to be filed by PAO on behalf of the Saliligs today, Friday, before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Six out of 17 persons of interests (POIs) have already surfaced to provide police investigators more information on Salilig’s case.

Among those who were charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with Salilig’s death were Romeo Earl Anthony, 21 years old , student; Tung Cheng Teng, 22, Adamson University student; Jerome Balot, 22, student; Sandro Victorino, 28 years old; Michael Lambert, 31; and Mark Pedrosa, 39.

The respondents availed of their right to undergo a preliminary investigation (PI), thus, waived their right under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, pending the completion of the PI.

Article 125 of the PRC mandates the “delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities within the period of: 12 hours, 18 hours, or 36 hours, depending on the gravity of the offense.”

They were later brought before the DOJ for inquest proceedings.


Meanwhile, a mother of a college student in Cebu has sought justice for his son’s death after undergoing  hazing rites conducted by the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity members.

The victim, identified as 20-year-old University of Cebu marine engineering student Ronnel Baguio, died on December 18, 2022, but police have yet to file charges against those responsible for his death.

Leny, the mother of the victim, also sought the assistance of PAO in finding justice for his son.

She recounted that prior to his death, she lost contact with his son on December 10 and that his board mates told him that he returned only to the boarding house on December 12.

She added that on December 17, her son called her asking what medicines to take for urinary tract infection, stomach pain, and headache.

The mother said she advised her son to have himself checked by a doctor.

The next day, Leny said her son called her up again to inform her that he vomited blood.

“I told him to go to the doctor and that I would send money for his medical needs,” she said.

A day after,  she received a phone call from one of his son’s friends informing her that Ronnel was brought to a hospital and was in critical condition.

Leny said she  immediately booked a flight from Bataan to Cebu to see his son but the latter was already dead when she arrived.

She later discovered that her son sustained severe injuries on his legs.

Ronnel’s death certificate, according to his mother, showed that he had an acute kidney injury secondary to multiple physical injuries.

The victim’s mother also expressed disappointment over the school’s refusal to provide assistance, saying that the alleged hazing happened outside the school and that they do not sanction such activities.

Acosta said PAO would take the lead in the filing of charges against those responsible for Ronnel’s death.

The chief public attorney also lamented that police have yet to file charges or make an arrest in connection with Ronnel’s death almost three months after his death.

Acosta also said the University of Cebu may be held civilly liable for Baguio’s death over their refusal to provide assistance to the Baguio family.

The PAO chief said they have already  prepared the draft complaint against an instructor of the victim at the university  who served as his “godfather” to the fraternity.

Acosta also called for the blacklisting of fraternities who have been involved in activities that violate the provisions of  Republic Act No. 11053.

She  said school administrators should also be penalized for failing to prevent or supervise the activities of  their fraternities.

Acosta also expressed disappointment as some of those involved  in fatal hazing incidents have managed to elude life term imprisonment as courts would usually sentence them for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide instead of violation of RA 11053.

Reckless imprudence resulting to homicide carries a maximum penalty of six years.