Hazing suspect’s father also to be charged with murder
For apparently trying to protect his son, the father of one of the principal suspects in the death of San Beda College law student Marc Andre Marcos has found himself in the same boat as his son.
Angelito Veluz, who owns the 10-hectare farm for breeding cocks in Dasmariñas City where Marcos allegedly underwent initiation rites of the Lex Leonum Fraternitas, will be charged with murder along with his son Gian Angelo and over 20 others, Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao, Cavite police director, said Thursday.
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law, states that the owner of a place where fraternity hazing took place should be held liable along with members of the fraternity, Bulalacao said.
He added that the law “says the owner is still liable even if he or she did not know that fraternity initiation rites were held in their property.”
The Cavite police director said feigning ignorance was not an excuse for Veluz.
Bulalacao noted that the elder Veluz admitted during an interview with the media that Gian Angelo had told him about the fraternity’s activity on the farm in Barangay (village) Zone 3, Dasmariñas.
However, Angelito quickly retracted his statement, saying he was not aware that the fraternity had conducted initiation rites on his property and that he did not know that his son was a member of Lex Leonum.
“We will make use of the recorded television interviews including (Angelito) in the criminal complaint,” Bulalacao said. “We will request the TV stations for a copy of that interview.”
He said the Cavite police had tried to elicit more information from Angelito, but his lawyer had advised him not to entertain questions from the police until he was formally invited for investigation.
Bulalacao said Veluz had indicated to the police that he knew “something” had happened on his farm in Dasmariñas City, where the alleged hazing took place, on Sunday evening.
Marcos, 21, succumbed to severe injuries in his “lower and upper extremities,” according to the autopsy report of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory.
Bulalacao said Veluz came with his lawyer to the provincial police headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to answer the allegations against his son.
Bulalacao said the police sought out Veluz, a former councilor in Dasmariñas City, in the hope of finding his son.
“The father promised to surrender or escort his son to me anytime today (Thursday) until Friday. That is if he would stand by his word. He said he just needed enough time,” Bulalacao said.
Asked if the father knew about the hazing rites that took place on his farm, Bulalacao said “it was implied during our conversation.”
He said Veluz appeared to have learned of the incident after Gian Angelo went to his father for help on what to do with Marcos.
Names of frat members
The PNP chief, Director General Nicanor Bartolome, said the police were close to identifying the Lex Leonum members who attended the initiation rites.
“We already have the names of the fraternity members, but we need to be very sure about it. We need to validate the information first before we could invite them (for questioning),” Bartolome said.
“What is important right now is that we have already filed a case and we can still file a supplementary charge,” he added.
The PNP chief said he had directed the Cavite police to look into the “gap” between the time Marcos and the fraternity members arrived on the Veluz farm and the moment they reportedly left a bar in Las Piñas City where the group supposedly had a drinking spree.
“I want our investigators to determine where they possibly went before they were seen on the farm after they left Las Piñas. Apparently, they left the place at around 12 midnight (of July 28), but they arrived at the farm past 8 a.m. the following day,” he said.
Bartolome said information on where the group went and what it did was critical to the investigation.
“We also want to get more information, some details (from the Marcos family) that would strengthen our case against the suspects,” Bartolome said. “We believe that we have a strong case and we will continue to unmask the other personalities involved in this incident.”
Visit to wake
Bartolome, a native of Tarlac, went to Marcos’ wake in Barangay Poblacion in Ramos, Tarlac, to extend condolences to the victim’s family and to assure them of speedy police investigation.
He was accompanied by his investigation team that included Bulalacao, Dasmariñas police chief Ulysses Cruz, PNP lawyers and investigators from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
The PNP team presented to the family pictures of Marcos while he was being treated at the De La Salle University (DLSU) Medical Center.
Bartolome said the police would extend protection to the victim’s relatives and other possible witnesses who could provide testimonial evidence to the police.
“Whoever needs security, especially witnesses who will come out and request security, we will provide them that,” Bartolome said.
The PNP chief called on the parents of other Lex Leonum members to turn in their children to help hasten the investigation.
Appeal from PNP chief
“I appeal to the parents of those who may be involved in this. Your children are also victims. If you’re in the same situation as that of the victim’s parents, you will also wish the same to give justice to the death of your son,” he said.
Bartolome appealed to Lex Leonum members to face the consequences of Marcos’ death. “(They) will be given the opportunity to defend (themselves). Let’s work together to put a stop to this kind of (violence),” he said.
The Inquirer tried contacting the elder Veluz on the mobile phone numbers provided by the police but did not get any response.
His house, a three-story building in Dasmarinas City, Cavite, had been “locked” for three to five days, said a vendor in a store on the first floor of the building.
The vendor said he had not seen anyone come or leave the house over the past few days.
On the Veluz farm, which takes about 10 minutes of travel from the town proper, a caretaker who introduced himself as Romy said all the other caretakers had left, including the two whom the police had earlier interviewed.
“I am the only one here. The others are gone (but) I don’t know where. Maybe they got scared,” Romy said.
He said that he was not on duty last weekend when the alleged hazing rites took place and that he had not seen Gian Angelo recently.
His boss, the elder Veluz, could be at his cockpit arena in Bacoor City, he said.
The farm, a 10-ha property in Barangay Zone 3, was mainly for breeding cocks, the caretaker said. There was also a one-story concrete house on the farm owned by the family but it was closed on Thursday. With reports from Jo Martinez-Clemente, Inquirer Central Luzon
Originally posted at 01:42 pm | Thursday, August 02, 2012
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