Appearance of key witness in hazing death of Atio Castillo expected at resumption of Senate probe

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A KEY witness to the hazing death of UST law freshman Horacio Castillo 3rd is expected to appear at the resumption of the Senate investigation on Monday, a senator said on Sunday.

“Nagexecute na siya ng affidavit wala namang problema kung ikukuwento nyang muli yung inilahad nya sa affidavit. Kami po ay ibang branch of government naman sa tingin ko walang problema kung ikukuwento nya (He already executed his affidavit, and there is nothing wrong narrating what he stated in his affidavit. We [Senate] are a separate branch of government so I see no problem with it),” Sen. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian said in an interview aired over dzBB.

Mark Ventura, who was admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) in October, was a former officer of the Aegis Juris fraternity and was present during Castillo’s initiation rites on September 17 at the fraternity library on Laon-Laan Street in Manila.

Gatchalian said Ventura could still tell the committee about the incident that led to the death of the 22-year-old freshman even after turning state witness.


He said that there had been several instances in the past wherein a state witness was allowed to appear in congressional hearings and Monday’s Senate hearing would not be any different.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd will present Ventura during the hearing to be conducted by the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs; Justice and Human Rights; and Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.

Gatchalian, author of Senate Bill 199 or the Anti-Hazing Act of 2016, which seeks to introduce stiffer penalties against fraternities, sororities, and other organizations involved in hazing, also expects officials and members of the Aegis Juris fraternity to appear at the hearing.

The senator said members of the fraternity would likely be cited in contempt if they would be absent. JEFF ANTIPORDA

 

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