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You have blood in your hands if you stay silent, fratmen told

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You have blood in your hands if you stay silent, fratmen told

ATIO’S BEST FRIEND Horacio Tomas Castillo III cuddles Lega, his golden retriever that, in recent days, has been a regular at Atio’s wake, grieving and keeping her good friend company in their final moments together. “She really cries at night,” said Atio’s uncle, Gerardo M. Castillo. —FROM GERARDO M. CASTILLO’S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

Aegis Juris fraternity members who are keeping secret their knowledge of the fatal hazing of law school freshman Horacio Castillo III have blood on their hands and should now wash it with the truth, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Saturday.

“To those who know anything about what happened to Horacio Castillo III: If you were there when it happened, then you have blood on your hands. Time to wash it with the truth and with justice for Atio,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre urged members of University of Santo Tomas law school fraternity to come forward with their information by contacting the Department of Justice (DOJ) at mobile hotline 0995-4429241.

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Castillo, 22, died of injuries sustained from a fraternity hazing last Sept. 16. He was already dead when he arrived at the Chinese General Hospital early Sept. 17.

On Sept. 22, fraternity member John Paul Solano surrendered to the police and admitted bringing Castillo to the hospital, but denied taking part in the initiation.

Person of interest

Hours later, another Aegis Juris member, Aeron Salientes, also appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation to submit proof he was at his hometown in Pampanga during the hazing.

Salientes submitted to authorities video footage supposedly showing him at the Bataan Transit Terminal around 5 p.m. Saturday and then at his family’s house in Pampanga past 8 p.m. of the same day.

“I don’t know [Horacio]. When I saw him in the news, I was also shocked,” Salientes said. “I felt terrified.”

He also denied participating in the hazing, saying he avoided extracurriculars as one of the conditions his parents set when he returned to law school after a three-year absence.

Three down, 13 to go

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Solano and Salientes are among the 16 students in the lookout bulletin Aguirre issued to the Bureau of Immigration on Sept. 20.

However, one of the 16 fraternity members, Ralph Trangia, fled to the US via Taiwan on Sept. 19.

Manila police said on Sunday the inquest of Solano, who had been in police custody since his surrender, would proceed on Monday.

Senior Insp. Rommel Anicete, chief of the MPD Homicide Section, said Solano submitted a prepared statement and signed a waiver of detention, which allows the MPD to keep him under its custody beyond the 36 hours.

Atio’s wake

Meanwhile, the friends of Castillo, who called him Atio, were still struggling to come to grips with his killing, describing him as a stabilizing force during turbulent times and a cheerful student who befriended everyone he could.

“He greets everyone, even though they have so little to no contact beforehand,” said one friend, who added that Castillo was even drinking buddies with his professors.

Geraldine Yu, who worked with Castillo in the student council, said he was the go-to person whenever they needed to process something at the dean’s office because the dean’s secretary “always found [Castillo to be] a charming boy.”

Once, Yu recalled, Castillo felt guilty that a vacation had prevented him from helping his team in the student council sooner and bought pizza to make up for the lost time.

Selfless life

“There were also several times that he would bring us milk tea to lighten up our mood when we’re stressed,” Yu said. “Horacio lived his life selfless. It was always about helping other people and making them feel loved and cared for.”

Several friends said Castillo always greeted people with a hug. A number of friends also gave the Inquirer screenshots of conversations with Castillo on Facebook that showed he would often message at random to tell them to rest, take care of their health, do well in school or ask how they were.

“Reminder that we make sacrifices to make our family proud,” Castillo messaged one friend.

“He had spunk, angst and cheerfulness but above all, he had passion,” said a friend. Another predicted that Castillo would have become a “brilliant and dedicated” senator.

In the wake of Castillo’s death, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said there were already several bills proposing changes to make the 22-year-old Republic Act No. 8049, or Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, tougher.

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TAGS: Aegis Juris, Aeron Salientes, hazing, Horacio Castillo III, John Paul Solano, Vitaliano Aguirre II
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