UST urged to take lead in seeking justice for law student’s death
The administration of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) should take the lead in seeking justice for the death of its freshman law student allegedly during a fraternity rites last weekend, Senator Win Gatchalian said on Monday.
On Sunday, Horacio Tomas “Atyo” Castillo III, 22, was found dead in Tondo, Manila. A day before he died, Castillo told his parents he would be attending the “welcoming rites” of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, a university-accredited organization.
Police said his body was covered in bruises and candle wax drip marks.
“The fact that the fraternity being implicated in this hazing death is recognized by the university itself as a legitimate student organization means that UST cannot pull the same tricks used by other schools in the past to evade responsibility for the criminal actions of their students,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“UST has an even greater obligation than ever to uncover the truth of this incident and hold Atyo’s killers accountable for their sick crimes,” he said.
The senator pointed out that this unlike in the past cases of fraternity deaths, Castillo’s death was different since the fraternity involved was accredited by UST.
Gatchalian then called Anti-Hazing Law needed to be overhauled to ensure that persons or groups responsible behind hazing deaths would be held accountable.
His proposed replacement measure, Senate Bill No. 199, would repeal Republic Act no, 8049 or the “Anti-Hazing Law of 1995” to institute a more comprehensive anti-hazing regime by providing a more prohibitive definition of hazing, expanding the scope of liabilities and increasing the penalties for hazing offenders, and mandating educational institutions to play a central role in hazing prevention and awareness.
Gatchalian as a former House lawmaker filed House Bill No. 5760 during the 16th Congress. It was approved by the House on third and final reading but failed to gain Senate approval before the end of the term.
“It’s time for the Senate to take up this proposed legislation,” he said. /je
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