Accused in UST hazing case plead not guilty
Ten members of a fraternity based at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) pleaded not guilty on Tuesday when they were arraigned in connection with the fatal hazing of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
Castillo’s mother, Carmina, who was in the courtroom with her husband, Horacio Jr., said that the accused’s plea did not surprise her.
Those who were arraigned before Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 were Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Marcelino Bagtang, Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre and Joshua Joriel Macabali.
The 10 members of Aegis Juris fraternity are accused of violating the antihazing law in connection with the death of the 22-year-old victim.
They have been detained at the Manila City Jail since May.
Castillo died after undergoing initiation rites in the wee hours of Sept. 17, 2017, at the fraternity library in Sampaloc, Manila.
Earlier, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed a petition to review the dropping of Nilo Divina, UST Civil Law dean, from the charge sheet.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters last week that the petition filed by Castillo’s parents on April 19 was “dismissed for late filing.”
In March, the DOJ charged 10 fraternity members with Castillo’s death but cleared 24 others, including Divina, for lack of evidence.
In a resolution dated July 5, the DOJ explained it was “constrained to dismiss appellants’ petition by reason that their appeal was clearly out of time.”
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