A student was allegedly killed in a “university frat hazing ritual” and his body was found in an open field ten days later. The deceased, John Matthew Salilig, a third-year student in the Philippines, reportedly went missing on February 18.

On the same night, he was apparently set to perform a rite of passage to join the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity at Adamson University.

Unable to locate him for a few days, the family filed a missing person complaint.

Police found the body on February 28 and saw the remains were covered in visible injuries.

The injuries included bruises on his thighs, which the authorities believed were the result of abuse from the hazing ritual he had been subjected to at Tau Gamma Phi.

An autopsy further revealed Salilig died from “severe blunt force in the lower extremities” thought to have been dealt during the initiation ceremony.

One of Salilig’s brothers, John Michael, is also a member of Tau Gamma Phi and thought the welcome rites were safe, as he’d had to go through them himself.

He told VICE World News: “Even if I tried to stop him that time, I knew he would still attend [the rite].

“So [in the name of] brotherhood, I said, ‘Go ahead, see you on Sunday.’”

The death has led to a backlash in the Philippines with many calling for local laws against hazing rituals to be taken more seriously.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in a statement on March 1 that “justice will be served.”

The statement said: “It is not through violence that we can measure the strength of our brotherhood.”

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Laws against the kind of initiation ceremony that killed Salilig already exist in the southeast Asian country – introduced in 1995, the Anti-Hazing Act bans physical violence at initiation rites and was introduced four years after first-year law student Leonardo Villa suffered a cardiac arrest after being attacked at a similar welcome rite.

However, only one person was convicted under the law in the 20 years after it was introduced, despite at least 12 people being killed in these kinds of rituals in the Philippines during this time.

In 2018, the law was changed and hazing was made completely illegal.

Criminal proceedings against the fraternity members are ongoing.

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