THE rector of the University of Santo Tomas has publicly called on the fraternity men responsible for the death of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo 3rd to admit to the “abominable” crime, as details of the brutal hazing emerged.
Fr. Herminio Dagohoy spoke out for the first time on the hazing incident in a Mass at the university chapel marking the 40th day since the death of the 22-year-old Castillo.
“Please pray to God that the perpetrators of this abominable crime admit their faults so that justice may be served. Let us appeal to their conscience and to that little goodness, that they may value their faith as Thomasians,” the Dominican priest said in his homily.
The Mass was attended by Atio’s friends, professors in the Faculty of Civil Law and former mentors in the Faculty of Arts and Letters, where he finished his bachelor’s degree in political science early this year.
Dagohoy said Atio’s death gave hope and courage in the time of “darkness and hopelessness.”
“We pray for Horacio [whose death]gives us hope and courage. We hope that our departed Thomasians, particularly Horacio, enjoy God’s eternal embrace. [R]emembering our deceased loved ones make our sense of hope alive,” he added.
Dagohoy then led a candle-lighting ceremony to remember Atio and other departed alumni.
Castillo died on September 17 after undergoing the “welcome rites” of the Aegis Juris law fraternity.
Senate probe to resume
The Senate will resume on November 6 its probe into the death of Castillo, which Sen. Joel Villanueva said the inquiry would be “intense” as senators won’t allow suspects to invoke their right against self-incrimination without a valid reason.
Villanueva said the Senate would use the sworn affidavit of frat man Mark Anthony Ventura detailing what happened during the Aegis Juris fraternity’s initiation rites that led to Castillo’s death on September 17.
“We’ll use his affidavit and we’ll call on also to his frat brods (brothers) to tell the truth because we were disappointed with [John Paul] Solano in the previous hearing,” Villanueva said in a chance interview on Friday night during the 39th anniversary of the Jesus Is Lord Church at Rizal Park.
“This coming hearing will be intense because they can no longer invoke their right against self-incrimination without valid reason,” he said.
Villanueva noted that on September 25, during the first public hearing on Castillos’ death, Solano identified, in an executive session, the frat men whom he saw at the frat library where the victim died.
Solano, a medical technologist, vowed to divulge in public, through a sworn affidavit, in the next hearing the names of the frat men involved in Castillo’s death.
Solano, who is on leave from his law studies, was called in to revive Castillo when the neophyte collapsed from hazing in the morning of September 17.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, led by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, conducted on October 18 a second public hearing on Castillo’s death wherein the senators expected Solano to narrate in public what he knew about Castillo’s death. But Solano reneged on his promise.
“We’re very disappointed with Solano. He [promised]he would tell all, he would give names and after he talked to his brods, he backtracked,” Villanueva.
He lauded Ventura’s decision to tell all. “It will help us seek the truth. I’m sure, Mr. Ventura is now being rejected by his brods (in Aegis Juris).”
“I appeal to the Aegis Juris fratmen to step up and follow Ventura’s example and tell the truth,” Villanueva added.
WINONA S. SADIA AND PAULINE FAYE V. TRIA WITH A REPORT FROM BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO