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Civil Law dean denies meeting Atio days before hazing

Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina filed a counter-affidavit denying that he met with Castillo on Sept. 12.



Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina submitted a 30-page counter-affidavit denying any liability in the death of freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III. Photo courtesy of Mong Pintolo/The Philippine Star.

Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina submitted on Monday his counter-affidavit before the Department of Justice (DOJ) denying any liability in the death of freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who was allegedly killed due to hazing rites.

Along with his 30-page counter-affidavit, Divina attached copies of CCTV footages from his law firm to prove Castillo did not meet with him on September 12, as Atio’s parents Horacio and Carmina claimed.

Atio’s parents, assisted by their lawyer Lorna Kapunan whom Divina sued for libel thrice, filed a complaint against the dean for murder and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

Kapunan’s son Lino, who is also co-counsel in the case, said Atio paid a courtesy call on Divina as a neophyte of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, which Divina is also a member of.

The Castillo camp used a text conversation as evidence between Carmina and her son on September 12, where Atio said he was at a law firm near “Petron gas along Buendia” where the Divina Law firm happens to be in that area.

Divina however said that he prohibited organizations at the UST Faculty of Civil Law including the fraternity from recruiting freshmen.

“Atio did not even mention my name or my law firm. Indeed, there must be at least a dozen law firms in the Petron area. In our building lane, there are several law firms. There is simply nothing in the foregoing text exchange that can be construed as indicative of actual prior knowledge on my part of the hazing that was to be conducted on September 17,” Divina said in his counter-affidavit.

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Also, Divina said in his counter-affidavit that organizations wishing to conduct initiation rites seek approval not from his office, but from the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) which has the duty to appoint school representatives to be present during initiation rites.

Divina said that Aegis Juris did not ask permission from OSA and that he cannot be accused of a cover-up because he had done all he could to help with the investigation.

He also said that the reason why he did not immediately called Atio’s parents about their son’s death on September 17 was because he only heard an unconfirmed report from the Faculty Secretary Arthur Capili.

Divina only received initial details from news reports in the morning of Sept. 18.

“Up to that point, none of the police authorities had gotten in touch with me. I took it upon myself to write General Joel Napoleon Coronel, the head of the Manila Police District, requesting for a dialogue to enable us in the Faculty of Civil Law to implement whatever measures you think is necessary to assist the police in its investigation,” Divina said.

Also, Divina said that he does not know the officers of the fraternity and their contact details as he is a non-active member of Aegis Juris.

Divina added that he considers quitting the fraternity but said that the decision would have to be made after the case.



Engage in political discourse, youth lawmaker tells Thomasians

“Layon namin na gamitin ninyo ang diskurso sa loob at labas ng paaralan para kalayaan at kapayapaan,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.



Photo by Cielo Erikah Mae Cinco/TomasinoWeb.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago urged Thomasians to utilize political discourse inside and outside the classroom in order to combat the government’s attacks on democracy and human rights.

“Layon namin na gamitin ninyo ang diskurso sa loob at labas ng paaralan para kalayaan at kapayapaan,” Elago urged in the forum titled “Politikan: Diskurso sa Politika ng Henerasyong Milenyal” at the CME Auditorium last March 7.

Using knowledge from discourse, the Kabataan Partylist representative called on the youth to realize their capacity and influence on social issues, especially with the rise of social media.

“May kakayahan at kapasyahan ang kabataan na yanigin ang estado at iyon ang gusto natin ipakita,” she said.

Elago continued further: “Kahit saan, may kabataan. Nagsasalita tayo para sa kanila. Tayo mismo ang makakaimpluwensya sa loob at labas ng Kongreso.”


Use film for advocacy, director says

Film is also a powerful medium for discourse and advocacy, said director and screenwriter Baby Nabrida.

“[F]ilm happens to be a very powerful medium because film moves people to change, it can create a great impact for moral, social, and film is a very potent medium, and I strongly believe that film also is a medium of transformation,” Nabrida told Thomasians.

She also urged students that “[w]e need to educate our audience and not just entertain. We need support from government, especially [from the] Department of Education and from universities and schools to be effective as film advocates.”

“Film springs on change; artistic activism can empower not just cinema, but also other art forms,” Nabrida continued.


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Silence is political

Meanwhile, spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo called on students to write poetry “coming from the truth” to make their work effective platforms for discourse.

“Napakaepektibo [ng spoken word poetry] dahil ang tula ay nanggaling sa katotohanan. When you’re writing your spoken word poem, make sure you’re coming from the truth. Ito man ay malikhaing pag-iisip, hindi ibig sabihin na hindi ito nanggaling sa katotohanan. At napakadaling makita kung sino yung nagkukunwari lang,” Severo said.

He also narrated how he faced backlash for his poems that criticize the government. However, Severo believed that, as an artist, he has the responsibility not just to entertain but to speak up on pressing issues.

“Ang pagpili natin na manahimik ay pulitikal. Kaya nating manahimik, kaya nating mamiling manahimik dahil we are privileged, maatim natin na manahimik dahil hindi naman tayo masyadong apektado,” he urged.

“Politikan: Diskurso sa Politika ng Henerasyong Milenyal” was organized by the Political Science Forum.—C.E.M.C.


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Songco is new Alumni Association president; Tenedero takes chairman post

The UST Alumni Association, Inc. elected its resigned president Henry Tenedero as chairman while former student affairs director Evelyn Songco was elected president, taking over Tenedero’s post.



Photo grabbed from the UST Alumni Association, Inc.'s Facebook page.

(UPDATED March 19, 10:15 a.m.) The UST Alumni Association, Inc. (AAI) elected former student affairs director Evelyn Songco as its new president while resigned president Henry Tenedero took over the chairmanship of the association.

Tenedero stepped down from his post last Jan. 23 after the UST AAI drew flak for conferring Medical Technology alumna and Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson an award on government service (READ: Alumni Association prex resigns, Uson’s award not revoked).

“As the president of the association, I’m taking full responsibility for whatever this has created. Well, of course, we have committees assigned for this, it is incumbent of me to accept responsibility,” Tenedero told TomasinoWeb in a phone call following his resignation.

Songco served as the director of the Office for Student Affairs from 1990 to 2006 and 2010 to 2016. She was also the director of the Office of Alumni Relations from 2007 to 2010.

Jerenato Alfante, Maria Elena Manansala, Teresita Meer, Nelson Tan Afuan, and Maureen Pickering were also elected as vice president, secretary, treasurer, auditor, and public relations officer of the UST AAI executive board, respectively.

The UST AAI is the mother organization of the University’s duly recognized alumni associations; however, it is a corporation separate from UST and operates independent of the University.—M.G.P


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UST improves in March 2018 physician boards



The University posted a higher passing rate in the March 2018 licensure examination for physicians, with two Thomasians landing on the top ten highest scorers.

UST registered this year a 90-percent passing rate, wherein 36 out of 40 Thomasians made the cut. This was higher than last year’s 88.89-percent in which 32 out of 36 examinees passed.

Meanwhile, two Thomasians made it in the top ten. Abdulraoph Gaus Deki placed fifth with a score of 86.33-percent and Regina Mae Lo Ang landed sixth with a score of 86.08-percent.

Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation was named the top performing school in the examination after posting an 89.29-percent passing rate.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 1,067 out of 1,601 examinees nationwide passed the board exam for physicians.



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