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DOJ dismisses plea to include UST dean in charges over Atio Castillo’s death

/ 04:00 PM July 18, 2018

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has denied the petition of the parents of hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III to include University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina in the charge sheet over the death of their son from hazing in September last year.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said the petition filed last April 19 by Atio’s parents, Horacio Jr. and Carminia “was dismissed for late filing.”

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The parents filed a petition to review the DOJ’s March 6 resolution that ordered the filing of criminal charges against 11 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

The resolution also cleared 24 other people including Divina and other members of the Aegis Juris fraternity due to lack of probable cause and insufficient evidence.

In a text message to reporters, the DOJ chief also confirmed that the DOJ denied the petitions for review filed by Ralph Trangia, one of the 10 Aegis Juris fraternity members facing hazing charges at the Manila Regional Trial Court.

“The petitions for review are dismissed for procedural lapses,” Guevarra noted.

In a resolution dated July 5, the DOJ explained it is “constrained to dismiss Appellants’ Petition by reason that their appeal was clearly out of time.”

“Settled is the rule that the right to appeal may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law or pertinent rules of procedure. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the law or rules. Failing to do so, his appeal will be dismissed,” read the resolution signed by then Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho.

“Accordingly, the instant Petition should be denied due course for failure to comply with the requirements on appeal,” Kho said.

The DOJ has already filed charges before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) against 10 members of the fraternity for violating Republic Act 8049 (the Anti-Hazing Law).

Aside from Trangia, the accused include Aegis Juris president Arvin Balag, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Axel Munro Hipe, Marelino Bagtang, Jose Miguel Salamat, and Robin Ramos.

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All of them are currently detained at the Manila City Jail.

The Manila RTC set the arraignment of the fraternity members on July 24.

The DOJ also charged Aegis Juris member John Paul Solano with perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code and obstruction of justice under Section1(f) and (i) of Presidential Decree 1829.

Castillo died after undergoing initiation rites in the hands of Aegis Juris fraternity members in September 2017. /vvp

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TAGS: Atio Castillo, hazing, Philippine news updates, Supreme Court, UST
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