Castillos’ lawyer seeks probe of UST officials

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THE investigation into the death of hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo 3rd should include officials of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and officers of the Aegis Juris Fraternity that conducted initiation rites, according to lawyer Lorna Kapunan.

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Lorna Kapunan & Nilo Divina

“All I’m saying is let us include in the investigation all the officials named in the law…I’m saying, the head of the university, the head of the law school, the head of the fraternity, that is what the law requires,” Kapunan said during the Saturday Forum at Annabel’s restaurant in Quezon City.

The lawyer is counsel for Castillo’s family.

“Those who profess their innocence, this is the proper forum to present that you were either not a direct participant or were not an accomplice or a co-principal after the fact, and that you exercised the required degree of diligence under the Anti-Hazing Law and under our Civil Code,” Kapunan told reporters.

UST, the lawyer said, has “substitute parental authority” under the law.

“So they’re required to exercise due diligence in the supervision of the school authorities, in the supervision of the organizations, in the supervision of their own students,” she said.

UST not liable – dean

Nilo Divina, dean of the UST law college, said in a television interview on Friday the school was not liable for the hazing death of Castillo, a freshman law student.

He told the ABS-CBN News Channel’s “Early Edition” that the crucial test of responsibility was “did you measure up to the standards of a good father of a family?”

UST, he said, had imposed strict policies against hazing.

“We have a very strict policy against hazing—that policy is part of our manual, and annual orientations are conducted to all students. Organizations that apply for accreditation are required to undertake that they will not engage in any form of hazing,” he said.

“The incident happened outside the university. Lastly, the fraternity is not recognized for this year…Even assuming that it is recognized, the fact is—it is required to undertake that it will not engage in hazing. Recognition doesn’t mean approval of any unlawful acts.”

Police said the hazing rites happened on September 17, between 12 midnight and 8 a.m., inside the Aegis Juris Foundation office and library at No. 1247 Navarra St. corner Laon-Laan Street in Sampaloc, Manila, outside the campus.

Three fraternity members have turned themselves in to the authorities: John Paul Solano, who brought Castillo’s body to the hospital, Aeron Salientes and Jason Adolfo Robiños.

The Manila police filed five charges (perjury, robbery, murder, anti-hazing, and obstruction of justice) against Solano, whom the police accused of giving false testimony.

Solano had claimed he accidentally saw the body on a sidewalk in Tondo. Investigation later showed Solano was a member of the fraternity summoned to revive Castillo in the morning of September 17.

Aside from Solano, Salientes and Robiño, others named in the charge sheet were Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Marc Anthony Ventura, Axel Mundo Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Carl Matthew Villanueva, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro and Jose Miguel Salamat.

Ralph Trangia has left the country and is suspected to be on hiding in Chicago. Police are coordinating with Interpol in a bid to arrest Trangia.

Police also charged Trangia’s father, Antonio Arizala Trangia, the registered owner of the vehicle that took Castillo’s body to the hospital.

Rosemarie Trangia, Ralph Trangia’s mother, was charged with obstruction of justice for helping her son flee the country.

Also mentioned in the complaint were “several other unidentified persons and unidentified members” of Aegis Juris Fraternity and Regina Sorority.

Castillo was laid to rest on Wednesday.

His parents “don’t want the case to be buried with their son” and “don’t want their son to be a statistic,” Kapunan said on Saturday.

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