Lacson hints at leak on fraternity Facebook chat group linked to hazing death

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SENATOR Panfilo Lacson hinted on Friday that one of the Aegis Juris members who joined the fraternity chat group may have leaked the contents of their online conversations on how to deal with the death of hazing victim Horacio Castillo 3rd.

Lacson said that he supported the plan of the Manila Police District (MPD) to use as “electronic evidence” the screenshot of the chat group where some senior Aegis Juris members or the practicing lawyers proposed how to cover-up the crime.

“Iyan ang tinutumbok ng MPD ngayon, na magamit as electronic evidence (That’s what the MPD was trying to establish now, to use it as electronic evidence),” Lacson said in a radio interview.

“Kaya kailangan dapat makipag-coordinate sa telco at sa service provider at pati sa Facebook PH para sa ganoon ma-authenticate para ma-certify na sila ang nag-usap-usap doon para maging part ng ebidensya nila.

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(He said the MPD must coordinate with the telco [telecommunication company], service provider, and Facebook Philippines to authenticate and certify the online conversation that could be used as part of its evidence against the accused.)

Pressed whether the MPD needed to seek the consent of the individuals in the Aegis Juris chat room, Lacson said: “Ganito ‘yan. Kasi may tinatawag na reasonable expectation of privacy test, may jurisprudence dito (It’s like this. There is a so-called reasonable expectation of privacy test, there is already jurisprudence on this).”

The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said that there would be no problem if it would fail the reasonable expectation of privacy test. “Walang na-violate na anti-wiretapping act (The anti-wiretapping act was not violated).”

“In this case ine-expect nila e FB (Facebook) ‘yan. Open ‘yan sa publiko. Maski sabihin nila na group chat lang namin ito (They might expect that it is Facebook. It is open to public and it is just their group chat),” Lacson said.

“E, bakit nakuha ng staff ko ang group chat nila ang content? Ibig sabihin may miyembro ng group chat nila na di talaga exclusive sa group nila. Kasi bakit nakukuha ng ibang tao? (Then why was it that my staff was able to get the contents of their group chat? That means they have a member in their group chat who is not exclusive to their group),” he added.

Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, MPD chief, testified on October 18 at the Senate investigation on Castillo’s death that in the course of the investigation of the hazing incident, “we are in receipt of several information particularly social media communication or exchanges of information which we believe to have been published or reported and communicated by members of this fraternity members pertaining to the incident of hazing of Atio Castillo.”

“So, there were two threads which were submitted to the anti-cyber crime unit of the PNP for verification, authentification and validation and in these social media exchanges of information, it was indicated that several fraternity members not only residents but also alumni were aware of the death of Atio Castillo even in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 when Atio was brought to the Chinese General Hospital. Because of this we submitted to anti-cyber crime unit for examination and evaluation,” he said.

“Apparently a social chat page or Facebook page was put up by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity discussing the ways, means and actions that they will have to take regarding the investigation of (the death of) Atio Castillo,” Coronel said.

The MPD monitored that several members of this fraternity met in the Novotel purposely to discuss their actions to be taken when the police start its investigation on Castillo’s death.

“Based on the exchange of communication from this fraternity members, it would appear that the tendency of the fraternity to conceal or obstruct justice was very evident. They would like to evade, avoid at all cost investigation and prosecution of this case,” Coronel said.

Identified in the chat group were: Lawyers Marvi Abo, Cecilio Jimeno, Alston Kevin Anarna, Ferdinand Rogelio, Edzel Bert Canlas, Cesar Ocampo Ona, Gaile Dante Acuzar Caraan 3rd, Henry Pablo Jr., Michael Vito, Cesar Monga dela Fuente, Nino Cervanes, Manuel Angelo Ventura 3rd, Chet Villaroman; and students Bryan Bangui, Arvin Balag, Jose Miguel Salamat, Ronald Cheng, and Milfen Alvarado.

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