THE Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied motions filed by Aegis Juris fraternity members to suspend issuance of arrest warrants to 10 of them who are facing criminal charges.
In a hearing on March 16, Presiding Judge Alfredo Ampuan of Branch 40 of the Manila RTC said he would proceed to determine probable cause to issue warrants against the 10 accused that would lapse on March 22.
The hearing was in connection with the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo 3rd on September 17, 2017, during fatal initiation rites led by the accused fraternity men.
All the 10 accused appeared before the court for the first time in the hearing, including Aegis Juris officers Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Oliver John Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan and Axel Munro Hipe; and members Danielle Hans Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Marcelino Bagtang, Robin Ramos and Jose Miguel Salamat.
In an order, Ampuan denied Trangia’s motion to suspend the issuance of a warrant of arrest on the basis of continuous trial.
Similar prayers included in the omnibus motions of Salamat, Ramos and Bagtang were also denied.
Meanwhile, Chan, Salamat, Balag, Rodrigo and Ramos’ motions for bail will be set for hearing only after the court has determined probable cause and only after their arraignment and pre-trial.
“The [motions]shall be set for hearing only after this court determines probable cause . . . and only after the arraignment and pre-trial conference,” Ampuan said.
Earlier, the Department of Justice (DoJ) ordered the indictment of the accused on the non-bailable charges of hazing based on the testimony of their fellow Aegis Juris member Mark Anthony Ventura.
Ventura, who was also present during Castillo’s fatal initiation rites, is now under the DoJ’s Witness Protection Program.
Ampuan also ordered the DoJ prosecutors to comment on Salamat, Ramos, Bagtang, Rodrigo and Balag’s motion to quash as well as Salamat and Ramos’ motion to invalidate Ventura as a state witness within three days.
Carmela Castillo, Atio’s mother said, “Standing next to the accused, I was more numb and angry at the same time. I really don’t care what the future holds for them. They took for granted a life.”
Carmina said not one of them has reached out to the family or given her a nod when they see each other in hearings.
“I feel that some are still in denial and some do not understand the gravity of the situation they are in. They committed a crime they thought they can get away with. Now they have all the time to think about what they did,” she added.