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Divina, 20 Aegis Juris lawyers face SC disbarment case over Castillo’s death

In a notice dated Feb. 6, the Supreme Court treated Senate Committee Report No. 232 as a disbarment complaint against Nilo Divina and the 20 lawyers of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, and required each respondent to comment within 10 days upon notice.

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Photo courtesy of Mong Pintolo/The Philippine Star.

Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and 20 other alumni of Aegis Juris Fraternity are now facing a disbarment case before the Supreme Court (SC) for their alleged “cover up” of the fatal hazing of the freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

In a notice dated Feb. 6, the SC treated the report of theSenate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Justice and Human Rights as a disbarment complaint against the 21 lawyers and required each respondent to comment within 10 days upon notice.

The SC resolution stated the following 20 lawyers, aside from Divina, as subjects of the complaint:

  • Marvi Abo
  • Alston Kevin Anarna
  • Edzel Bert Canlas
  • Cecilio Jimeno
  • Ferdinand Rogelio
  • Eric Fuentes
  • Cesar Ocampo Ona
  • Gaile Dante Acuzar Caraan
  • Gem Dimaculangan
  • Alfonso Verzosa
  • Henry Pablo Jr.
  • Jet Dela Peña Villaroman
  • Cesar Dela Fuente
  • Niño Kjell Servañez
  • Manuel Angelo Ventura III
  • Michael Vito
  • Arthur Capili
  • Irvin Joseph Fabella
  • Edwin Uy, and
  • Allan Christopher Agati

The notice was a response to the committee report filed on Jan. 24.

Chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the Senate Committee Report No. 232 recommended the disciplinary actions and disbarment of Divina and the other lawyers of the fraternity.

“The actions taken by these members constitute grossly immoral conduct that is shocking, against the decency expected from lawyers and a mockery of the legal profession,” the report said.

It further stated, “In order to set an example, so as to deter further incidents of hazing, it is paramount that these individuals be dealt with, and possibly deprived of the privilege to practice law, urgently.”

The same committee report also asked Divina to step down from his post as dean of the Faculty of Civil Law.

“If the Dean had the courtesy to take a leave of absence from the fraternity so as not to lead under a cloud of bias in favor of his fraternity brothers, as he claims to be, with more reason for him to humbly step down,” the report read.

Divina had already dismissed calls to take a leave of absence from his post last October as investigations on Castillo’s death were ongoing (READ: Civil Law dean rejects idea of stepping down amid Atio’s death probe).

Furthermore, in a statement in response to the senate committee report, Divina maintained that his “conscience is clear.”

“I did all I could have done under the circumstances to prevent incidents of hazing from happening during my watch as Dean,” his statement read (READ: Divina on disbarment raps: My conscience is clear).

Along 20 of his associates in DivinaLaw, Divina is also facing disbarment raps from Patricia Bautista, the estranged wife of former Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista (READ: Comelec chair’s wife files disbarment case vs. Civil Law dean, 20 others).

Castillo’s death was allegedly due to the fatal hazing during the initiation rites of Aegis Juris Fraternity September last year.—B.Laforga.

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Thomasians join protest vs tyranny, ‘de facto’ Martial Law

Several Thomasian progressive youth groups trooped to Luneta for the United People’s Action that condemned the current administration’s implementation of “de facto” Martial Law in the country, Friday, Sept. 21.

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martial law anniversary protesters
Photo by Christine Tapawan/TomasinoWeb.

For the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, several Thomasian progressive youth groups trooped to Luneta for the United People’s Action that condemned the current administration’s implementation of “de facto” Martial Law in the country, Friday, Sept. 21.

Thomasians lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies that “curtail and repress the democracy of the Filipino people.”

Anakbayan UST SHS spokesperson Ronel Reyes said that the dooms of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos are being felt under Duterte’s presidency.

“Mariin nating kinokondena ang “de facto” Martial Law na ipinatutupad ni Pangulong Duterte na wala ring pinagkaiba sa ginugunita natin ngayon, ang anibersaryo ng Martial Law ng diktador na si [Ferdinand] Marcos,” Reyes said in a chance interview with TomasinoWeb.

He also added, “masasabi nating may de facto Martial Law kasi ang mga nangyayari ngayon sa’ting bansa ay katulad din sa nangyayari dati.”

Reyes stressed that the Thomasian community’s participation is important as it’s a way to fight for the rights of fellow Filipinos.

“Mahalaga po [ang partisipasyong ng mga Tomasino] dahil tayo ay hindi dapat nakukulong sa apat na sulok ng paaralan, dapat tayong makiisa sa laban ng mga Pilipino; hindi tayo hiwalay. Pinagsasamantalahan tayo ng parehong sistema,” Reyes said.

‘Never Again to Martial Law’

Unfazed by the sudden downpour of rain, the protest still pushed through at around 2 pm. and converged with other different organizations from the University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, De La Salle University, among others.

Chanting “Never Again to Martial Law,” the students were joined by other activist groups from different sectors and then marched to Luneta for the activities and programs prepared.

Also present in the protest were Lumads that recently visited and held “Bakwit School” in the University last Sept. 10.

READ: UST welcomes, pledges support for Lumads

On the other hand, “Pro-Duterte” groups also staged “counter-protest” at Burnham Green in Rizal Park carrying placards of praise of the administrations programs and policies.

Under the Proclamation 1081, Marcos enacted Martial Law that led to the killings and imprisonment of more than 70,000 people, according to Amnesty International.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed more than 4000 cops around the area for the said event.

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada suspended classes in all levels, both public and private, citing safety and security reasons for the students.

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UST welcomes, pledges support for Lumads

The Thomasian community along with other progressive youth groups welcomed Lumads as they trooped to the University to voice out their call to end Martial Law in Mindanao, assuring them of support as “Bakwit School sa UST” commenced, Monday, Sept. 10.

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thomasians protesting for lumads
Photo by Jude Camot/TomasinoWeb.

The Thomasian community along with other progressive youth groups welcomed indigenous peoples as they trooped to the University to voice out their call to end Martial Law in Mindanao, assuring them of support as “Bakwit School sa UST” commenced, Monday, Sept. 10.

UST Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir addressed the cultural minorities and said that UST “as a Catholic institution stands by the poor and the oppressed.”

“Ang UST bilang Katolikong pamantasan patuloy na naninindigan sa kapakanan ng mga mahihirap, ng mga naaapi at ng mga pinagsasamantalahan,” Abenir said as he welcomed Lumads for the second year of Lakbayan.

Despite the heavy downpour of rain, the “Salubungan” activity still pushed through with Lumads and Thomasians entering the Arch of the Centuries.

Meanwhile, UST Central Student Council (CSC) Secretary Robert Gonzales expressed support in ending Martial Law in Mindanao and assured the Lumads of the Thomasians’ continued assistance in rebuilding classrooms and other material support.

“Nakikiisa rin ang mga Tomasino upang ipaglaban at itaguyod ang paglaban natin para sa edukasyon. Tutulong kami sa abot ng aming makakaya upang itaguyod ang Lumad bakwit schools,” Gonzales said.

The UST CSC Secretary also added, “ipagpapatuloy namin ang pagsuporta sa mga paaralan ng mga Lumad sa pagpapatayong muli sa mga silid-aralan at iba pang suportang materyal. Ang paaralan ninyo ay paaralan rin namin.”

Moreover, cultural presentations were conducted including a performance by Tubaw, a reenactment by the Lumad students and a community dance together with Thomasians.

‘Buksan ang puso’t isipan’

Manilyn Gantangan, a grade 10 Lumad student, challenged Thomasians “to open their hearts and minds in what’s really happening in the society.”

“Hinahamon ko po ang lahat ng mga nakikinig na buksan po natin ang ating puso’t isipan at alamin natin ang totoong nangyayari sa ating lipunan,” Gantangan said.

Sr. Patricia Fox was also present and urged Thomasians to “hear what’s happening and listen to their story.”

“I think one of the problems is people are not hearing really about what’s happening there. So I think it’s great that the Thomasian community has accepted them, to listen to them and then get their stories out to others so that people know what’s happening,” Sr. Fox said in a chance interview with TomasinoWeb.

She also added that Lumads deserve “to live in peace and have a good education.”

“Well, I think they’ve got a just demand. Every young person should have a right to education. They have a right to be there to live in peace, to have a good education.” Sr. Fox said.

UST Save Our Schools (SOS) Networks volunteer Hannah Rondilla gave a solidarity message and asked the Thomasian community to heed the call to fight land-grabbing of ancestral lands.

“Makiiisa rin sana ang mga Tomasino upang tutulan ang pangangamkam sa mga lupaing ninuno at ipaglaban ang karapatan ng pambansang minorya para sa sariling pagpapasya,” Rondilla urged.

The said event will continue until September 17 in which various activities including Unity Walk, a peace forum and a grand solidarity night are expected to happen.

Last April 20, UST Simbahayan inked a partnership with alternative school for the Lumad as they commit to defend education and for the rehabilitation of school facilities.

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UST boosts performance in guidance counselor board exam

The University recorded a perfect passing rate in the August 2018 guidance counselor licensure examination.

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Photo by Jester Ramos/TomasinoWeb.

The University recorded a perfect passing rate in the August 2018 guidance counselor licensure examination.

UST improved to a 100-percent passing mark, with all four Thomasian examinees passed.

Last year, no Thomasian made it to the cut.

No Thomasian, meanwhile, made it to the top ten for this year’s licensure exam.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 307 out of 471 takers passed the board exam for guidance counselors. Rex Morales

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