Basing it on the evidence gathered and presented during the public hearings conducted by the Senate on the Atio hazing case, the DOJ panel may have overlooked or disregarded the cover-up angle committed by the other frat members not included in the indictment.
The pieces of evidence like the authenticated contents of the group chat participated in by clearly identified members and officers, the video footages and other documents should have been enough for the DOJ to find probable cause to also charge them for being accessories after the fact at the very least.
A measure providing harsher penalties against hazing and attempts at cover-up passed the bicameral conference committee level on Feb. 28, 2018.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs that produced the Senate version of the measure, led the Senate contingent. Leading the House contingent was Justice Committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Voting 19-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading Senate Bill 1662, which imposes heavier penalties on hazing and attempts to cover up the crime. The Senate also adopted the findings and recommendations of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs on the hazing death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
The Senate adopted the findings and recommendations of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on the hazing death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III. It also approved on second reading Senate Bill 1662, which provides heavier penalties against hazing and attempts at cover-up.
Pagkatapos imbestigahan ang pagkamatay ni Horacio “Atio” Castillo III dulot ng hazing, inirekomenda ng komite ni Sen. Lacson sa Korte Suprema na i-disbar ang mga abogadong miyembro ng Aegis Juris fraternity, kabilang si Dean Nilo Divina. Ipinaalala rin ng komite na hindi maaaring manatiling tahimik ang pamunuan ng University of Santo Tomas sa hazing.
Reclusion perpetua at tumataginting na P3 milyon na danyos ang rekomendasyon ng Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs sa mga masasangkot sa pagkamatay ng isang indibiduwal dahil sa hazing.
Ang mga nabanggit na rekomendasyon ay personal na isiniwalat ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng naturang komite, matapos ang mga pagdinig na bunga ng pagkamatay ng hazing victim na si Horacio Castillo III mula sa University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Sa committee report ni Lacson, ipinaliwanag nitong humantong sila sa mga nabanggit na rekomendasyon matapos ang matagal at malalim na obserbasyon sa galaw ng mga indibiduwal at organisasyon na nabanggit sa naturang krimen.
Mr. President, sometime in September 2017, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III was offered the promise of mutual support and brotherhood by the Aegis Juris Fraternity not only during his tenure as a law student at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil law, but also during the Bar review and even in his future practice of the legal profession.
Apart from the guarantees made known to him, Atio decided to join the fraternity with a specific goal in mind, to discover his real purpose in life. Little did he know that his search for purpose would cost him his own life.
“Let’s put it this way. Ayaw naman namin matalo na parang i-release namin because meron siyang finile para maging moot and academic. Sabi ko nga, nobody wants to lose by default. So mas mainam na lang na ilaban sa SC. He asked for it, then we’ll give it to him.”
Our hearts go out to Atio’s parents. Struggling between relief and agony, they hate to hear what they have always wanted to know – what actually happened to their son that dreadful early morning of Sep 17, 2017.
Senate security personnel escort Aegis Juris fraternity president Arvin Balag to his detention facility after a Senate panel hearing on the hazing death of law student Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III. Balag was cited in contempt for being evasive in answering senators’ questions.
The video on top shows members of the Aegis Juris fraternity meeting at a hotel to discuss the hazing death of Horacio Castillo III. Below is the manifesto of the fraternity against hazing, along with a screenshot of one of the members talking about ‘gulpihan.’
The hearing on the fatal hazing of law student Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III has been moved to Wednesday, Oct. 18. This is due to the suspension of work at the Senate on Monday, Oct. 16 because of a scheduled transport strike. Thank you.
Following is the advisory from the Senate regarding the suspension of work on Monday:
[ADVISORY] According to the Senate OIC, Senator Gregorio Honasan, please be advised that work in the Senate on… https://t.co/GwOtHVJRA2
Please be informed that the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs regarding the fatal hazing of Horacio Castillo III will not push through on Tuesday, as per Committee Secretary Claire Fuentes-Olay.
We will update you on the rescheduling of the hearing soonest. Thank you.
Opening Statement for the Inquiry
on the Killing of Horacio Castillo III
Borrowing the wisdom of no less than the Supreme Court, Horacio Tomas Castillo III, like Lenny Villa and the other neophytes joining fraternities, entailed a leap in the dark. By giving consent under the circumstances, they left their fates in the hands of the fraternity members. Quoting from Villareal vs. People of the Philippines. G.R. No. 151258:
“Unfortunately, the hands to which lives were entrusted were barbaric as they were reckless.”
Let us cut to the chase, and spare the grieving family of denials with respect to his death caused by the misery of hazing in his initiation rites with the Aegis Juris Fraternity. His body, photos of which have circulated on every news channel, clearly outlined what happened to him on the night of September 16, 2017.
In an interview on DZBB, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– the Sept 25 hearing on the fatal hazing of Horacio Castillo III
– what Mark Taguba may reveal at the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on corruption at the Bureau of Customs
– cashless society to eliminate corruption
– wiretapping of suspected drug personalities
John Paul Solano, who was linked to the fatal hazing of UST law student Horacio Castillo III, surrendered Friday to Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
– Sen. Lacson turned Solano over to the MPD but expects him to testify at a Senate hearing on the incident on Sept. 25.
– Also, Sen. Lacson appealed to the other frat members linked to the hazing to surrender, as the PNP knows their location.