THE family of Horacio Castillo 3rd will file criminal charges against University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and other officials of the school, their lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, said on Wednesday.
The Department of Justice opened the preliminary investigation into the hazing death yesterday, the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte met Horacio’s parents in Malacañang.
The President ordered the Manila Police District (MPD) to take the lead in the investigation and promised the Castillo family that justice will be served for the death of Horatio, who died in hazing rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
Kapunan said university officials will be held liable if evidence will show that they allowed the hazing.
She said that Senate inquiry into Castillo’s death showed that Divina had knowledge of the hazing on September 17. The law dean also knew that the young Horatio was taken to the Chinese General Hospital (CGH) even before the Castillo family was informed of the incident.
Kapunan maintained that Divina knew about the hazing “and did nothing.”
She cited Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 8049 which states that “school authorities including faculty members who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring shall be punished as accomplices for the acts of hazing committed by the perpetrators.”
The Castillo family has until October 9 to file a supplemental complaint impleading Divina and other UST officials as respondents.
Murder and robbery charges have been filed against John Paul Solano, one of fraternity members who took Horacio to the hospital, and 17 other persons suspected to have been involved in the fatal hazing, as well as several other unidentified members of the Aegis Juris fraternity and Regina Sorority.
MPD takes lead
In their short visit to the Palace, Horacio Jr., his wife Carmina and other members of the Castillo family informed the President that they want the MPD to take charge of the invetigation of the case.
Duterte called Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa and MPD chief Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel at once to inform them of the Castillos’ desire.
“MPD takes lead because the [Castillo] family trusts them. NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) will just be there for validation,” Duterte said.
“There will be no whitewash. He (Horatio) was helpless. I would say this is murder because the victim was helpless,” Duterte, a lawyer, added.
The Castillos later told reporters that the President promised to help them.
“He assured us that justice will be served,” Carmina said.
“The case will be handled by the MPD under Coronel and (with the) supervision of PNP Chief [Ronald] dela Rosa. In my opinion, the MPD is credible, and they have really been of help to us since this started,” Gerardo added.
An employee of the Chinese General Hospital told probers on Wednesday that he found Solano’s ID in the comfort room on Sept 17.
A cleaner, an employee of the hospital, was invited yesterday at the Homicide Section of the Manila Police District after he turned over the ID of Solano.
“I found the ID on top of the lavatory. I turned it over to the nurse,” the employee who asked not to be named said. “I saw the ID about 9 a.m. on Sept. 17. I do not know the person in the picture.”
Senior Police Officer 3 Jonathan Bautista said Solano’s ID showed that Solano was a law student of UST for school year 2015 to 2016, a fact that he hid from the police.
Two nurses also identified Solano as one of those who took Horatio to the hospital.
with LLANESCA T. PANTI AND JAIME R. PILAPIL