MALACAÑANG has welcomed the move of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to expel eight students implicated in the fatal hazing of law student Horacio Castillo 3rd, saying that it was the “right step forward.”
In a news briefing on Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the expulsion of the eight students sent the message that schools do not tolerate violence.
In a statement released through the university’s official student publication The Varsitarian, UST confirmed that the committee assembled by its rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., found eight law students guilty of violating the Code of Conduct and Discipline.
The expelled students were not named.
UST, however, said that the panel composed of six administrators and a representative from the Central Student Council would continue its probe “until all students who were involved in the hazing incident are held administratively liable.”
Roque said criminal prosecution for violation of the anti-hazing law would follow.
Castillo was found dead in a morgue by his family in September last year after attending the initiation of the Aegis Juris law fraternity.
It was found out that Castillo’s death was caused by cardiac arrest, which was triggered by traumatic injuries.
Parts of his body were black and blue; wax droppings were also visible.
Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Benigno Aquino 4th filed Senate Resolutions 504 and 519, which called for a probe into the death of Castillo.
The Senate Committee on Public Order called for the disbarment and resignation of UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, an alumnus of the fraternity, and other Aegis Juris alumni who were said to have attempted a cover-up.
Divina, however, denies any wrongdoing, adding he cooperated with the investigation.
UST’s announcement came after the Castillo family said they would take the matter to the Vatican.
Last year, the Bureau of Immigration issued Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against the members of the Aegis Juris fraternity suspected to be involved in the hazing of Castillo, namely: Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Marc Anthony Ventura, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Jason Adolfo Robiños, Ralph Trangia, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Carl Mattew Villanueva, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro, Jose Miguel Salamat and John Paul Solano.
The Manila Police District also said members of the Regina Juris Sorority and alumni of the fraternity witnessed the initiation of Castillo.
Last week, the Senate passed a bill repealing Republic Act 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, on third and final reading.
Zubiri said that the old law only regulates hazing. The bill prohibits hazing in initiation rites and imposes stronger penalties on hazing.
Lifetime imprisonment and a fine of P3 million will be imposed those who participate in hazing rites that lead to death, rape, sodomy or mutilation of the victim.