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Magulang ni Atio nagagalak, nagagalit sa pagdinig ng kaso

Magkahalong galak at galit ang naramdaman ng mga magulang ng nasawing miyembro ng Aegis Juris Fraternity na si Horacio Castillo III sa unang araw ng pagdinig ng kaso sa Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20, ika-14 ng Agosto.

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Kuha ni Angelika Ortega/TomasinoWeb

Magkahalong galak at galit ang naramdaman ng mga magulang ng nasawing miyembro ng Aegis Juris Fraternity na si Horacio “Atio” Castillo III sa unang araw ng pagdinig ng kaso sa Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20, Martes, ika-14 ng Agosto.

Ayon kay Carmina Castillo, ang ina ng napaslang na UST Civil Law freshman, lubos na nagpapasalamat ang kanilang pamilya nang humarap upang tumestigo si Marc Ventura laban sa iba pang mga kapwa-miyembrong akusado.

“We commend Marc na nagawa niya ‘yun para makamit natin ‘yung katotohanan at justice. We are very happy na he testified and he’s committed na sabihin kung ano yung totoo at ‘yung nangyari para hindi maulit ito,” hayag niya.

Dagdag naman ni Horacio Castillo Jr., ang ama ng 22-anyos na pinaslang umano sa hazing rites, “talagang malaking bagay ang paglabas ni Marc sa pagkakakilanlan ng mga may sala.”

“He felt sorry for the accused pero sabi niya ‘I have to do the right thing,’” pag-ulit ni Castillo Jr. sa salaysay ni Ventura 

Subalit, masakit pa rin para sa ina ni Atio ang sinapit nito kahit isang taon na ang nakalilipas.

“Masakit pa rin siya (ang mga testimonya) pag naririnig mo,” ani Carmina.

“Any moment gusto mo sila sakalin, murahin at sabihin: ‘Bakit hindi niyo dinala sa ospital? Eh ‘di sana hindi tayo nagkakasuhan, eh ‘di sana buhay pa yung anak ko,’” dagdag pa niya.

‘Already in tears’

Emosyonal nang humarap bilang testigo sa unang pagkakataon si Ventura, hayag ni Carmina.

“He was emotional to testify. Mahirap sa kanya kasi sabi niya pamilya na nga niya ‘brods’ niya but he has to tell the truth.” paliwanag pa niya.

“He was already in tears.”

Tikom naman ang bibig ng mga akusado, ayon kay Castillo Jr. sa isang pahayag sa TomasinoWeb.

“Well, the accused were there, they were quiet. They denied everything actually ang nagdeny naman eh yung lawyers eh pero the accused remained silent,” sabi ng ama.

Dumalo naman sa pagdinig ang lahat ng miyembrong sangkot na sila Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Marcelino Bagtang, Jose Miguel Salamat at Robin Ramos.

Noong Hulyo 24, umapela naman ng “not guilty” sa korte ang lahat ng sampung sangkot sa kaso sa kinakaharap nitong paglabag sa Anti-Hazing Act of 1995.

Sa isang resolusyong pinetsahan noong Hulyo 5, ibinasura ng Kagawaran ng Hustisya (DOJ) ang petisyon ng pamilya Castillo na muling panagutin si UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina.

Ayon pa sa DOJ, huli na nang makapaghabla ng petisyon ang mga Castillo laban kay Divina dahil 15 araw lamang matapos makapagbigay ng resibo. Mga ulat mula kay Angelika Ortega at Noemi Ann Perez

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Mental health forum sheds light on Mental Health Law

Last October 16, the Central Student Council organized Vitellius: the Mental Health Week which aimed to encourage Thomasians in spreading mental health awareness, support and self-care.

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Photo by Alexa Taay

As the society continues to progress for a more inclusive society, several platforms were made available to dispel the stigma surrounding various issues, especially the mental health.

Last October 16, the Central Student Council organized Vitellius: the Mental Health Week in line with World Mental Health Day and the newly-minted Mental Health Law,  which aimed to encourage Thomasians in spreading mental health awareness, support and self-care.

A roster of speakers including principal sponsor and bill author Senator Risa Hontiveros and psychology and medicine professionals, Mr. Renz Argao, Mr. Ferdinand Nykko Bautista, R.N., Dr. Marc Eric Reyes and Dr. Ma. Gia Sison shared their insight and experiences in front of a Thomasian audience in the UST Medicine Auditorium.

“(…) the more long-term implications of having a mental health law in the first place is addressing the terrible stigma which surrounds mental illness and a move away from institutionalizing people with mental health concerns,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros in a bid to continuously engage and educate others regarding mental health. Keeping conversations alive on Mental health transitions our culture into one that would normalize mental health dialogues without attaching stigma.

The presence of Republic Act 11036 opens the implementation of Suicide Prevention Protocols and Policies within schools and universities. Dr. Marc Reyes advised action to sustain mental health awareness after the World Mental Health Month. He emphasized on training faculty, staff and students into Suicide First-Aid Responders who will follow the guidelines and training manual drafted by mental health professionals.

Sustained mental health awareness beyond the month of October gives a person the courage to accept and acknowledge the possibility of having mental health problems. According to Dr. Gia Sison, the self-stigma on mental problems prevents the individual to seek help from peers, guidance counselors and therapists. She stressed that acknowledgment is a milestone because it prompts self-care, peer support and eventual mental health advocacy.

Other topics touched upon the forum include improving resiliency through making connections, accepting change, and creating safe spaces discussed by Mr. Renz Argao, the importance of taking care of oneself by Mr. Ferdinand Nykko Bautista.

In solidarity and support for Mental Health Awareness, attendees are given green ribbons representing mental health support upon registration. Aside from the forum, the Central Student Council celebrated Mental Health Week by hosting a Poster Making Competition and Open Mic Session events last October 17 and 19 respectively.

Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Law was signed earlier this year last June 21. The landmark law is responding to the rising number of Filipinos suffering through some form of mental illness. Funding and budget are intended to provide accessible health care and facilities in schools and barangays to persons with mental health needs.

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Atio’s parents hopeful as trial continues

With “strong” evidence paired with the assembly of a “good” prosecution team, parents of the slain UST Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III remained hopeful that justice will be served for their son as the hearing of the case continued on Tuesday, Sep. 4.

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Photo by Robert Lionel Garcia/TomasinoWeb.

With “strong” evidence paired with the assembly of a “good” prosecution team, parents of the slain UST Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III remained hopeful that justice will be served for their son as the hearing of the case continued on Tuesday, Sep. 4.

“Pinakamalakas na ebidensya [is] me discovering our son dead, na meron siyang tama sa braso. Indication na ‘yan ng hazing,” Carmina Castillo, mother of the 22-year old alleged hazing victim, told the reporters.

The parents also lauded the prosecution for assembling a “strong and great team” fighting for Atio.

“With a lot of people na tumutulong naman. We are very happy and we’re very glad na nakita n’yo naman ang gagaling nung prosecution. They assembled a very good team to fight for Atio,” Horacio Castillo Jr., Atio’s father, said.

They, moreover, believed that there would be “perfect conviction” of the accused.

“And talagang sigurado ako perfect conviction. Even those na hindi pa nandon, yung idadagdag pang mga tao perfect conviction pa rin ang kalalabasan,” Carmina said.

‘A piece of wooden trash’

One of the evidence presented during the hearing was the paddle which was allegedly used to hit Atio.

It was “painful” to see the evidence, particularly the paddle, Atio’s mother expressed.

“Mas masakit na makita namin yung paddle, and you know for Aegis Juris (AJ), for them, [it is their] crowning glory. But to us, it’s a piece of wooden trash na ginamit nila sa pagpatay sa anak namin,” Carmina said.

According to hazing suspect-turned-state witness Marc Ventura’s affidavit filed on Oct. 24 last year, Atio received a total of five hits from the paddle, where the fifth strike resulted in Atio’s collapse.

Carmina also claimed that the accused waited for Atio to die, saying AJ members “didn’t do anything when their son was getting weak.”

“I will stress hinintay nilang mamatay. Mahina na ‘yung anak ko, nanghihina na, wala pa rin silang ginawa. Talagang the purpose was to wait for him to die,” she said.

Aside from presentation of evidence, AJ member Ventura stood in today’s hearing for his cross-examination.

In the first hearing last Aug. 14, Ventura appeared before the court and testified against the fraternity.

Meanwhile, all 10 accused AJ members were present in today’s hearing, namely: Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Marcelino Bagtang, Jose Miguel Salamat and Robin Ramos.

Last July 24, the accused pleaded “not guilty” in the violation of the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995. (READ: Aegis Juris fratmen plead not guilty to hazing charges)

The hearing was conducted at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20. With reports from Angelika Ortega

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Ikalawang bersyon ng NSH, Straw HelpDesk, inilunsad

Inilunsad ng Student’s Rights and Welfare (Straw) ng bansa ang ikalawang edisyon ng National Student’s Handbook (NSH) at ang Straw HelpDesk, Martes, ika-14 ng Agosto.

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Inilunsad ng Student’s Rights and Welfare (Straw) ng bansa ang ikalawang edisyon ng National Student’s Handbook (NSH) at ang Straw HelpDesk, Martes, ika-14 ng Agosto.

Layong protektahan ng mga nasabing proyekto ang mga mag-aaral laban sa pang-aabuso ng kanilang mga karapatan.

Nakatala sa NSH ang mga karapatan ng bawat mag-aaral at ang mga batas na kayang prumutekta sa kanila mula sa mga natatampok na mga isyu tulad ng pagtaas ng matrikula, hazing at kalayaan sa pagpapahayag.

Bagamat halos katulad pa rin ng naunang bersyon ng NSH, ilan sa mga kalakip ng bagong bersyon ay mga impormasyon ukol sa karapatan ng bawat mag-aaral na bumuo ng organisasyon, sa kalidad na edukasyon at laban sa diskriminasyon.

Upang masigurado na magiging inklusibo ang nilalaman ng NSH sa lahat ng Pilipino, binabalak na ng organisasyon na maglabas din ng bersyon na nakalathala sa iba’t ibang diyalekto.

“In terms of NSH sa iba’t ibang dialects at iba’t ibang languages, we’re looking for partners that could help us. Since we’re just starting, our volunteers are not that much,” wika ni Foronda sa TomasinoWeb.

“In terms of reaching provinces, far-flung areas and remote areas in the Philippines, we’re looking for partners as well [such as councils and organizations] para ma-reach ‘yun,” dagdag niya.

Bukod sa pagpaalam sa mga mag-aaral ng kanilang mga karapatan, maaring dinggin ang kanilang mga hinaing sa opisyal na Facebook page ng Straw PH at ni Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Si Senador Hontiveros ang nanguna sa pagsampa ng Straw Bill noong 2016. Hanggang ngayon, nakabinbin pa rin ito sa komite. Cielo Erikah Mae Cinco, may mga ulat mula kay Rabin Bote

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