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8,801 Thomasian graduates celebrate baccalaureate mass despite heat, rain

After residing in the University for seven years, Angelo Arucan is now part of the 994 Thomasian graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Letters this coming June 6.

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After residing in the University for seven years, Angelo Arucan is now part of the 994 Thomasian graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Letters this coming June 6.

“Kung titimbangin, lahat ng pagod ko at saya ko, walang sinabi ‘yung pagod ko[…] kaso nalulungkot ako dahil baka ‘di ko na ulit makita college friends ko, ‘yung mga tinuring kong kapamilya,” Arucan expressed.

For Kariza Naguit, who has been in the University for eight yearsfours years in the College of Nursing and another four in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgerywhile balancing both her academics and student council duties, she couldn’t be happier.

“It (graduating) makes me proud kasi both colleges (College of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine and Surgery) are both Centers of Excellency (sic) so hindi lang siya ordinary thing na naka-graduate ako,” Naguit, who was also one of the flag bearers during the ceremony, told TomasinoWeb.

Arucan and Naguit, two of the 8,801 Thomasian graduates, shared the sentiment on Friday that leaving the University truly is a bittersweet victory.

Despite considering their batch as “unlucky” after having their Welcome Walk postponed numerous times, celebrating Paskuhan twice inside the Seminary gym due to heavy rains and splitting their baccalaureate mass into two batches, outgoing Central Student Council President Anna Mangalili said that their batch “ay inulanan ng blessings.”

Mangalili reminisced in her speech the struggles of the batch: sleepless nights, resorting to wearing hoodies after running out of uniforms to wear and “the liters of tears” shed from breakdowns due to stress.

“I ask myself: ‘where is the ‘good’ in ‘goodbye’? Only then did I realize the ‘good’ in ‘goodbye’ is in the lessons that we’ve learned, the experiences that we gained whether good or bad, the memories we created and shared which makes it hard for us to say goodbye,” she said.

“The ‘good’ in ‘goodbye’ is that: as Thomasians, we know that this is just temporary. Our goodbyes are just our way of saying: ‘I will see you again.” Mangalili added.

Earlier, acting Rector Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang O.P  celebrated the baccalaureate mass  making this his first homily delivered as acting Rector of the University.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible then they seem improbable but when we summon the will they soon become inevitable,” said Ang.

“Life is a series of beginnings and endings. That is why your graduation is not only a termination, it is also a commencement,” he added.

A musical fireworks display ended the celebration with a bang shortly followed by the grand exit of the students through the Arch of the Centuries.

Here are the number of graduates, arranged by year of establishment:

Faculty of Sacred Theology (1611) 53
Faculty of Philosophy (1611) 7
Faculty of Canon Law (1733) 12
Faculty of Civil Law (1734) 101
Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (1871) 520
Faculty of Pharmacy (1871) 682
Faculty of Arts and Letters (1896) 994
Faculty of Engineering (1907) 841
College of Education (1926) 482
College of Science (1926) 643
College of Architecture (1930) 393
College of Commerce and Business Administration (1933) 916
Graduate School (1938) 270
Conservatory of Music (1945) 70
College of Nursing (1946) 346
College of Rehabilitation Sciences (1974) 242
College of Fine Arts and Design (2000) 564
AMV College of Accountancy (2005) 753
College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (2009) 456
Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (2014) 481

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Friends continue to seek justice for Atio

After the prayer vigil commemorating the 100th day since Castillo’s death, Gabriel Adora slammed the release of alleged Aegis Juris leader Arvin Balag from Senate detention just a week before. “[It] was not justified […] even in the spirit of Christmas,” he said.

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Friends of fatal hazing victim Horacio Castillo III light candles at the Manila Memorial Park, Thursday, Dec. 28. Photo by Elizabeth Regudo/TomasinoWeb.

Colleagues and friends of fatal hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III gathered at his resting place at the Manila Memorial Park last Thursday, Dec. 28, to continue demanding justice for the slain law freshman in commemoration of the 100th day since his death.

“We call out on everyone who has the power to change things to put their effort in giving justice to our friend,” Gabriel Adora, a friend and classmate of Castillo in Faculty of Arts and Letters, told the reporters after the prayer vigil.

Adora continued: “Sana po ma-realize ng mga taong nag-inflict sa kanya ng ganitong klaseng sakit that led to his death, and the suffering and desolation of his family speak out.

He also defended the University, saying that UST cannot be solely blamed for Castillo’s death.

However, Adora also urged the University administration to exert their efforts as an academic institution in making concrete actions and raising awareness on the issue.

“Sa part naman [ng UST], if hindi nila magawang i-publicize ‘yung issue by themselves, if hindi nila kayang gawing alarming ‘yung issue within the campus, kami na lang bilang students of UST because we understand bakit nila ginagawa ‘yun.”

Adora also slammed the release of alleged Aegis Juris leader Arvin Balag from Senate detention just a week before. “[It] was not justified […] even in the spirit of Christmas,” he said.

Balag was released from detention last Dec. 22 upon the orders of the Supreme Court.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson Sr., chair of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, told in a statement that the decision was made “all in the spirit of Christmas, not to mention our desire to avoid a constitutional crisis during this holiday season.”

According to Adora, contrary to the real spirit of Christmas which is salvation, the fraternity did not save anyone.

“‘Yung kaibigan nga namin, namatay na, ‘yung pamilya niya, naggi-grieve pa rin hanggang ngayon para sa kanya, yet pinakawalan nila [si Arvin Balag]. So, I think I speak in behalf of everyone na mga kaibigan ni Horacio at sa mga relatives niya na it’s very unjustified and we call upon all those who can bring light to what just happened para naman hindi agrabyado, especially ‘yung family.”

During the vigil, Kaye Esmao, a friend of Castillo, prayed for the speedy disposition of justice and for hazing to be exposed as an inhumane practice being done to students in the country.

“We pray that Hor’s soul may be at peace despite what happened to him. We also pray that his family through the proceedings that are currently happening right now,” Esmao added.

Castillo’s family was invited but was not present on the said gathering.—B. Laforga

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Thomasian remains missing after ferry capsizes

UPDATE: “Kasama niya mother niya, dahil daw sa lakas ng alon, nagkahiwalay sila sa tubig,” the student’s cousin told TomasinoWeb in an interview.

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Photo from Mercraft Shipping Lines's FB page.

(UPDATED Dec. 26, 12:20 p.m.) A UST Junior High School student remained missing, along with two other passengers, after a ferry bound to Polillo Island capsized on Dec. 21.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that Jake Noel Mendiola, 14, remains missing after M/V Mercraft 3 sunk between Polillo Island and Barangay Binahican in Infanta, Quezon.

Mendiola’s cousin Cheysser Zabala said that Mendiola planned to go home to Burdeos, Quezon, along with his mother Dulcenia, for Christmas vacation.

“Kasama niya mother niya, dahil daw sa lakas ng alon, nagkahiwalay sila sa tubig,” Zabala told TomasinoWeb in an interview. “Ayon si tita (Dulcenia), nakabitaw na siya pero inaangat siya ni Jake.”

Zabala said that Mendiola’s other cousin and survivor, Donnel Jade, also came with them when the ferry took off at 9 a.m. from Ungos Port in Real, Quezon.

“Ayon naman sa tita, may hinahawakan nga silang mag-ina at nung na nakabitaw siya, lumubog siya at parang, nawalan siya malay. Namalayan lang kasi sya [nung] inaangat siya ng isang lalaki at binigyan hawakan. So pag tingin niya, wala na si Jake,” Zabala said.

Zabala also said that the front of the ferry was already damaged by 10 a.m. and that it remained afloat for an hour before it began to sink.

“Malalaki kasi [yung] alon kaya talagang nagkakahiwalay daw [sila] at [na]hirap[an] magkakitaan. Yun [yung] last kita [ni] tita kay Jake,” Zabala added.

The other missing passengers are Zandy Tapar and Odelun Azur.

The fast craft ferry owned by Mercraft Shipping Lines reportedly carried 256 passengers and crew when it sank.

However, police officials said in an interview with radio station DZRH that they would also investigate the matter of overloading. M/V Mercraft 3 had a maximum capacity of 286 passengers, according to the PCG.

A total of five casualties have already been recorded and 11 passengers were reportedly injured.

This is a developing story. Please refresh the page for updates.

by Heather Marian Amoroso

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SC orders release of Aegis Juris leader from Senate detention

The Supreme Court has ordered the immediate release of Aegis Juris leader Arvin Balag from the Senate detention facility.

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Aegis Juris leader Arvin Balag speaks before a Senate hearing on the fatal hazing of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III. Photo courtesy of Angie de Silva/Rappler.

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the immediate release of one of the primary suspects in the death of hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III from the Senate detention facility.

Arvin Balag, a principal suspect and the alleged leader of Aegis Juris Fraternity, was released through an SC resolution dated Dec.12.

“Order in the interim the immediate release of petitioner Arvin R. Balag on the basis of his prayer set forth in his Motion to Resolve Petition pending the resolution of the instant petition by the Court,” the resolution read.

Balag has been detained in the Senate since Oct. 18 after he was cited in contempt for refusing to answer questions during an inquiry on the hazing case of Castillo.

He had filed a petition in November where he mentioned the probe was not in aid of legislation, but “of prosecution,” calling the SC to nullify the contempt citation against him.

He also added that the contempt order had violated his right to fair trial.

Balag is one of the 42 suspects for the death of the 22-year-old freshman law student during the fraternity’s initiation rites on Sept. 16.

According to fraternity member Marc Anthony Ventura, Balag made the fifth and final paddle hit that was the one who delivered the fifth and final paddle hit that left Castillo unconscious.

Balag was initially identified as Aegis Juris president based on the fraternity’s records, but he claimed that he had resigned as an officer last August.

by Carisse Nicole Dumaua

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