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Alumni association: UST not complicit in law freshman’s death

The UST Alumni Association and UST Law Alumni Foundation emphasized that UST is not covering-up the case.



Alumni groups denied suggestions that UST is involved in the death of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III in a joint statement released last Friday, Oct. 6.

In the statement, the UST Alumni Association Inc. and the UST Law Alumni Foundation Inc. emphasized that there is no attempt from the University to cover up the case.

“We […] denounce any insinuation that UST and the Faculty of Civil Law were involved or in any way complicit or negligent in the senseless death of Mr. Castillo,” the statement read.

Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina had stated in a senate hearing last Sept. 25 that the Aegis Juris fraternity is not a recognized organization this academic year.

The status of the fraternity was confirmed by Office for Student Affairs Director Socorro Guan Hing.

The statement also disclosed that the University is independently probing the case “without the participation of any member of the law faculty.”

The two groups also strongly condemned hazing and other forms of violence, calling them “unchristian” and “evil.”

Castillo died Sept. 17, Sunday morning, after he underwent the hazing initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity the night before.

He was declared dead on arrival when his body was brought to the Chinese General Hospital by John Paul Solano, who initially claimed that he found Castillo’s body on a sidewalk in Balut, Tondo.

Solano later recanted his claims after police investigations found that he is a member of Aegis Juris and that CCTV footage obtained from the area where he claimed to have found Castillo showed that such incident did not occur.

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Solano, along with 18 other members of the fraternity, are currently facing charges for their involvement in the law freshman’s death.

However, in the first round of preliminary investigations last Wednesday, Oct. 4, Castillo family lawyer Lorna Kapunan stated that the family also intends to file charges against University officials, including Divina.

Despite this, the alumni groups stand with the Civil Law dean, saying that the Divina’s leadership “strongly exemplifies the core Thomasian values of Compassion… Commitment… and Competence.”

The groups also expressed support for the Congress’s move to revisit the Anti-Hazing Law so as to “prevent the occurrence of similar cases in the future.”

The second round of preliminary investigations is set tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 9, where the Castillo family and the Manila Police District are expected to submit additional evidence and documents to the Department of Justice.



Aegis Juris fratmen tagged in Atio hazing case now under NBI custody

(UPDATED) The surrender of the 10 Aegis Juris fratmen was voluntary and pre-arranged, NBI Internal Affairs Division Executive Officer Danilo Mayani stated in a press conference.



Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News.

(UPDATED March 23, 5:15 p.m.) The 10 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity indicted in the fatal hazing of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III are now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Death Investigation Department after arrest warrants were issued against them on Thursday.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin told reporters that the 10 fratmen gathered in an undisclosed location in Paco, Manila around 11 a.m. earlier today, March 23, where they were fetched by NBI personnel to be brought to the NBI headquarters in Ermita for booking procedures.

Their surrender was voluntary and pre-arranged, Danilo Mayani, NBI Internal Affairs Division executive officer, stated in a press conference.

Mayani said a common friend of one of the parents of the accused contacted him and revealed the fratmen’s intentions to turn themselves in to bureau that morning.

However, two of the accused, Jose Miguel Salamat and John Robin Ramos, also filed that morning a motion for inhibition against Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Alfredo Ampuan,  saying that he is “incapable of rendering fair and impartial adjudication” on the case since he is the brother-in-law of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption President Dante Jimenez.

Ampuan issued orders for the arrest of Salamat, Ramos, Mhin Wei Chan, Marcelino Bagtang Jr., Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali and Hans Matthew Rodrigo yesterday, March 22, for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law (READ: Arrest warrants out for 10 Aegis Juris fratmen).

The court’s decision on the motion is still pending as of press time.

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In a text message, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, a close friend of the Castillo family, said that he is “happy to hear” the issuance of arrest warrants against the 10 fratmen.

“After many months of listening to the enraging testimonies during the Senate inquiry, I now welcome the successive developments in the case that continue to give us hope that justice will be served to Atio’s family,” Zubiri said.

They 10 accused fratmen would spend nights at the NBI headquarters until the court releases an order stating if they would continue to be detained at the NBI or if they would be transferred to the Manila City Jail.


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Arrest warrants out for 10 Aegis Juris fratmen

The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 40 ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest against 10 Aegis Juris fratmen involved in the fatal hazing of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III.



Photo by Christel Maliksi/TomasinoWeb.

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 40 ordered today the issuance of warrants of arrest against 10 members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity involved in the hazing and death of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III.

Alfredo Ampuan, presiding judge of Manila RTC Branch 40, stated on his order that the court “finds probable cause and that there is a necessity for pacing all the accused under custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice.”

Arrest warrants would be issued for Mhin Wei Chan, Jose Miguel Salamat, John Robin Ramos, Marcelino Bagtang Jr., Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali and Hans Matthew Rodrigo.

Salamat’s and Ramos’ petitions to allow them to post for bail or for the dismissal of the charges against them were denied by the court last March 16.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the 10 Aegis Juris fratmen on March 8 for violation of Republic Act No. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, but charges against Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina were dropped (READ: DOJ indicts 10 Aegis Juris fratmen, drops Divina of charges).

Charges against 10 other Aegis Juris Fraternity members were also dismissed by the DOJ for “lack of probable cause.”


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Lakasdiwa fields no candidates for CSC polls as independent bets fill candidate list

Lone accredited political party Lakasdiwa did not field any candidates for the Central Student Council elections as 11 independent bets filled the list.

Lone accredited political party Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) did not show up during the filing of candidacy for the Central Student Council (CSC) elections on Wednesday, fielding no candidates as independent bets dominated the list.

Lakasdiwa was the only University-wide party which applied for accreditation and met the requirements set by the UST Election Code (USEC) of 2011 (READ: Lakasdiwa lone political party in next CSC elections).

Rival party Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC) was suspended for this year after LTC violated the online campaign rules during the last University-wide elections (READ: UST Central Comelec suspends LTC).

Nonetheless, no candidates from Lakasdiwa filed for candidacy earlier today.

Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) Legal Head Blaine Veron said that Lakasdiwa may still file for a motion for reconsideration until Friday, March 23, should the party consider to participate in the polls.

“Yes po, pwede po until Friday po sana kasi mag Easter break na po next week. So hanggang Friday sana meron mabigay na silang letter for reconsideration then we would deliberate if acceptable po ba reason nila o hindi,” Veron told TomasinoWeb.

TomasinoWeb tried to reach Lakasdiwa for comment regarding their absence from the filing but they are yet to respond as of press time.

Meanwhile, 11 independent candidates filled this year’s list of bets for the CSC Executive Board.

Former CSC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Francis Gabriel Santos filed to run for the presidency independently to continue the projects he and CSC Secretary Therese Gorospe implemented this year.

“Gusto ko kasi ipagpatuloy yung nasimula[n] namin ni ate Therese. Gusto ko hindi lang continuity, improvement rin kung ano man pagkukulang namin. Para rin ma-make sure natin na yung CSC na papunta sa tamang direksyon,” Santos said.

Karizza Kamille Cruz, Faculty of Civil Law Student Council secretary, would be running against Santos for the presidential post.

Cruz said she would like to pass the student’s code during her term.

“As a former officer of the student tourism society in my undergrad in the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and a former Central Student Council secretary in 2011 to 2012, currently the secretary of the Civil Law Student Council, I would like, in my term, to pass the student’s code,” Cruz said.

Victor Amores, Faculty of Pharmacy Student Council assistant secretary, filed for the position of vice president unopposed. Medical Technology junior Adrian Lee Fernando is also unopposed for the auditor post.

Journalism junior Carol Anne Balita and Medicine freshman Robert Dominic Gonzales contend for the position of secretary.

Vying for the treasurer post are Alek Pierce Joell Santa Ana, a Marketing Management junior, and Graduate School student Rome Voltaire Gomez.

Political Science juniors Jeremiah Pasion and Jan Krianne Pineda and Advertising Arts senior Jeanne Nicole Naval would be competing for the PRO post.

This year’s polls would revert to an electronic voting system after the Comelec opted for manual voting last year.

The controversial “abstain” vote was also removed in the ballots to be used for the upcoming polls, in accordance with the order of the Central Judiciary Board that declared the “abstain” vote as a violation of the USEC (READ: No ‘abstain’ in upcoming CSC elections; students develop new electronic voting system).

According to the Central Comelec, the campaign period would run from April 3 to 17, while the proclamation of winners would be on April 21.


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