SEN. Juan Miguel Zubiri on Saturday said the family of UST law freshman Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo 3rd, who died following fraternity hazing rites last week, were fearful for their safety and needed police protection.
Zubiri, a friend of the Castillos, said the hazing victim’s father, Horacio Jr. or Tito, told him unidentified people had visited the wake and appeared to have monitored their activities.
“The father is afraid. Someone approached him yesterday and asked, ‘So, what is your plan now?’ It appears that the man is subjecting him to a psywar,” Zubiri said.
“And since Monday there were unidentified people present at the wake who appeared to be monitoring who were the people visiting the wake,” he said in a radio interview.
The senator said that according to some of Castillo’s classmates who were in the wake, a man approached them and told them, “Uy, binabantayan namin kayo (Hey, we’re keeping an eye on you).”
Zubiri said he called up Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa to send policemen to the wake and provide security to the Castillo family.
“I’m so thankful to General Bato. He immediately sent PNP personnel. My request is that, I hope there will be 24/7 [security for the family]there so that if somebody tries to cause trouble he will be apprehended immediately,” he said.
Castillo, a first-year law student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), died as a result of heart failure because of severe trauma that investigators attributed to hazing rites.
Castillo was brought to Chinese General Hospital on Sunday morning by John Paul Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity who was on leave from his law studies in UST.
Solano, a medical technologist named by the police as one of the main suspects in Castillo’s death, surrendered to Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday through the help of UST law dean Nilo Divina.
Solano insisted he was not present during the Aegis Juris Fraternity initiation rites. He claimed he merely provided medical aid to Castillo after fellow Aegis Juris members called for his help to save the hazing victim.
A “person of interest” in the hazing of Castillo also surfaced on Friday. Aeron Salientes went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Friday evening, hours after Solano surrendered.
Salientes claimed he was in Pampanga when the hazing took place. He was one of the 20 members of the fraternity put under a Bureau of Immigation (BI) lookout bulletin.
Zubiri claimed that another person of interest would soon come out. This person allegedly “backed out” of the scheduled fraternity initiation rites on Saturday, September 16.
“Two recruits were supposed to undergo initiation rites that night. But one of them backed out. Atio was left behind,” he said.
“And since there was only one to undergo the initiation, they poured out all of their animalistic, barbaric acts on the student,” he said.
Zubiri added: “That’s why I pity my friend, Tito, because he does not know what to do. He approached me [and said], ‘I’m not used to this. Our family has a peaceful life. We only wanted to see our children graduate in college.
I cannot believe that this thing will happen to our family.’”
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, headed by Lacson, is set to conduct an investigation into Castillo’s death.
Lacson said his office or the Manila Police District could provide security to the Castillo family.
“They have valid concern. It is right to provide them security for their peace of mind, because they are serious in pursuing the case,” Lacson said in a separate radio interview.
Castillo’s parents and Solano were invited to the public hearing. Zubiri said the victim’s mother, Carmina, wanted to confront Solano.
“She wants to confront them and asked them what did they do to her son. She wants to hear their testimony,” he said.