Senators cite frat man in contempt, order his detention
Senators moved to cite in contempt Aegis Juris fraternity member Arvin Balag, and consequently ordered his detention for repeatedly invoking his right against self-incrimination during Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
The lawmakers have apparently blown their fuse as Balag continued to rebuff the questions of Senator Grace Poe, who wanted to know if he is the current president of the Aegis Juris fraternity, which is being blamed for the death of Castillo last September 17.
“With all due respect, your honor, I’d like to invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Balag said.
“For the position you’re holding in the frat, you’re invoking your right?” a visibly irked Poe asked.
“Your honor, being charged with the violation of the Anti-hazing law, it’s one of the elements,” Balag said.
Poe, however, clarified that she was not asking whether Balag performed the fatal hazing on Castillo but only his position in the brotherhood.
And when Balag invoked his right for the second time, Senate committee on public order chair, Senator Panfilo Lacson, reminded him not to force them to cite him in contempt.
“Don’t force us…huwag mong i-irritate yung mga members dito. A very simple question of your position and you’re invoking your right against self-incrimination? Come on,” Lacson said.
Poe proceeded to point out records showing that Balag is the president of the fraternity.
“Ni pagiging meyembro hindi mo aaminin? Anong klaseng leader ka ng iyong fraternity? Makakasama sa frat yan…Yan ang leader ninyo o,” she said.
Balag stood firm, however, and invoked again his right against self-incrimination.
At this point, Poe moved to cite Balag in contempt, which was immediately seconded by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
“There’s a motion to cite in contempt, Mr. Arvin Balag and it’s properly seconded. The motion is carried…,” Lacson said, as he ordered the Senate Sergeant at Arms to detain Balag after the hearing.
But Lacson said the committee would still give Balag another chance if he would give straight answers to the questions of the senators. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.