MANILA, Philippines—The case against members of the Lex Leonum fraternity who were accused in the death of San Beda law student Marc Andrei Marcos due to hazing has been dismissed for lack of corroborative evidence.
Judge Perla C. Faller of Cavite Regional Trial Court Branch 90 said the lone statement of state witness Cornelio Marcelo failed to establish a conspiracy to charge the accused with violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.
“The court holds that there exists no probable cause for the issuance of warrants for the arrest of all the accused for their eventual prosecution,” Faller ruled.
Marcelo surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation days after the death of Marcos on July 30, 2012, following a fraternity initiation in Silang, Cavite.
Marcelo said he had volunteered to be Marcos’ “angel” during the initiation ceremony, according to Faller.
As an “angel,” he was supposed to be with Marcos at all times and was in charge of his well-being.
Court testimony revealed that it was Marcelo who recruited Marcos into the fraternity.
Faller said that as the “angel” of the victim, Marcelo “failed to sense that Marcos was already showing some signs of physical weakness when he said he was feeling sleepy.”
“He also did not inform the master of the fraternity about the victim’s condition,” the judge said.
“We were shocked when we read the judge dismissed the case,” attorney Marinier Rivera, an aunt of Marcos, told the Inquirer on Saturday.
“We cannot understand what the judge meant that no one is to blame for the death of Andrei. Ano yun, lokohan (Who are they kidding)?” she said.
She said “our family has a high regard for the justice system but we were shocked when we read the decision.”
She said the family will file a motion for reconsideration in the same court, and will take the case up to the Court of Appeals if their motion is denied.
Faller, in her 22-page decision, said that “while admittedly there may be some physical infliction on the neophytes, yet his statement did not as much show that the accused had conspired to inflict fatal injuries on Marcos.”
“It seems to the court that Marcelo’s statements were practically evasive as to the actual participation of all the accused,” the judge said.
Faller also took full responsibility for her decision. “The buck stops here,” she said.
“No one is to be blamed for the death of Andrei Marcos,” the judge said.
“The court feels that it could suffer the flak of society, but it cannot in conscience consign all of the accused to the dust bin of history simply on the basis of the uncorroborated and incredible lone statement of Marcelo,” she said.
On June 3, Faller ordered the arrest of 10 members of the Lex Leonum Fraternitas believed to be responsible for Marcos’ death.
On June 13, however, the same court recalled the arrest warrants against eight of the accused, after they submitted a motion calling for a judicial determination of probable cause.
Accused were Jenno Antonio Villanueva, Glenn Meduen, Emmanuel Jefferson Santiago, Richard Rosales, Mohamad Fyzee Alim, Chino Daniel Amante, Julius Alcancia, Edrich Gomez, Dexter Circa and Gian Angelo Veluz .
Marcos, a freshman at San Beda College, died allegedly after undergoing initiation rites of the Lex Leonum Fraternitas.
The police in August last year filed murder charges against 37 people, including Veluz’s parents, Angelito and Violeta, who owned the farm in Dasmariñas City where the hazing took place.
Marcos, 21, a native of Ramos, Tarlac, was rushed to the De La Salle University Medical Center but succumbed to severe injuries.