Aegis Juris fratmen met in QC hotel after Atio Castillo died
Aegis Juris fraternity members hastily called a meeting in a Quezon City hotel in the afternoon of Sept. 17, hours after University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III died during alleged hazing rites, the Manila police chief said Wednesday.
Manila Police District director Senior Supt. Joel Coronel said at least 19 fraternity members attended the meeting in a function room on the third floor of Novotel.
Based on closed-circuit television footage from the hotel, the police identified Cecilio Jimeno, Miguel Salamat, Edzel Canlas, Ferdinand Rogelio, inside the hotel elevator.
Prior to the meeting, Coronel said the fraternity members exchanged messages on Facebook to discuss the fraternity’s next move after Castillo’s death.
An informant gave the police screenshots of the Facebook messages participated in by at least 30 alleged fraternity members. Coronel said the police were able to identify 12 of the 30 persons through their information shared on social media.
“In light of the discovery of these messages, the objective of Aegis Juris was to cover up, conceal to avoid and evade prosecution of this case. These are the context of their messages,” Coronel said.
“They were in panic. They couldn’t agree where to meet, some of them agreed to talking to Castillo’s parents but majority advocated that they avoid prosecution, having concerns for their fraternity brothers involved na baka daw masira ang kinabukasan,” Coronel said.
Some frat members also offered to contact Castillo’s family and agree to a settlement with them, said the police chief.
“But nowhere in this thread show that they were willing to submit themselves to investigation,” he said.
Coronel said that what he saw in the group chat was contrary to the earlier statement of Aegis Juris vowing to cooperate in any investigation and seek justice for Castillo.
The police said the group chat was initiated by a certain Atty. Marvi Rosero Abo.
The rest of the participants in the group chat were Bongget Rogelio, Mong dela Fuente, Edzel Bert Canlas, Jose Miguel Salamat, Cecilio Jimeno, Car Mhel (Brian Mhel Bangui), Gaile Dante Caraan, Miguel Ventura III, Milfen Alvarado, Jet Dela Peña Villaroman, and Henry Pablo Jr.
Salamat and Alvarado are included in the lookout bulletin order issued against fraternity members allegedly involved in Castillo’s death.
Senator Migz Zubiri said there was information that some fraternity members proposed that they pay the barangay officials to erase the CCTV footages captured near the Aegis Juris library where Atio died.
“I believe most of them are lawyers. ‘Yung ganito na future lawyers actively covering up for crime, I feel sorry for them,” Zubiri said.
“The points being raised here, are a matter of obstruction of justice, a cover up. May messages na inuutusan ang isang tao na i-erase ang CCTV, na bayaran kung kailangan ang barangay officials para makuha ang CCTV. Obviously, this is a clear cover up,” Zubiri said. /cbb
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