Coverup try of hazing death tarnishing legal profession—Chiz
Sen. Francis Escudero on Thursday lashed at Aegis Juris members whom he said “clearly attempted” to cover up the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III on Sept. 17.
“They are tarnishing the legal profession which we and many lawyers are part of,” said Escudero, himself a lawyer.
At the regular “Kapihan sa Senado” forum, Escudero referenced the online exchange of messages by fraternity members.
“It’s clear, based on their chats, that they intended to cover up their crime and hide those who are liable,” said the senator.
On Wednesday, Chief Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, Manila Police District (MPD) chief, told the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs inquiring into the fatal hazing of Castillo that investigators had retrieved the conversation thread on Facebook of the fraternity members following the death of the UST law freshman.
The Facebook group chat, shown through a 38-page slide presentation at the hearing, was initiated by a UST graduate and member of Aegis Juris identified by Coronel as lawyer Marvi Abo.
the MPD chief said Abo started the group chat early on Sept. 17, the day Castillo was believed to have died from excessive beating during his initiation into the fraternity.
Coronel noted that the fraternity members’ “tendency” to avoid investigation and prosecution “at all cost” was “very evident” in the group chat.
Escudero also said the fraternity members’ alleged participation in the online chat and in the actual hazing could be grounds for their disbarment or could prevent them from taking the bar examination.
He said that violating the Anti-Hazing Act, committing a murder and being an accessory to a murder “constitute moral turpitude,” which could be a “basis for law students to not be allowed to take the Bar and not allowed to be a lawyer. It can also be ground for disbarment of a lawyer.”
One of the issues discussed during the group chat was the fraternity members’ attempt to rid the Aegis Juris library of possible evidence.
“His family is welloff. They’ll be able to get a search warrant for the frat library tomorrow. I hope it gets cleaned up. I hope the paddle gets removed from there,” said a chat message from Alston Kevin Anarna.
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.