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MPD: FB chat basis for more hazing suspects

Horacio Tomas Castillo III UST Law student Hazing

Horacio Tomas Castillo III, a 22-year-old freshman law student at the UST, died of a heart attack after suffering injuries due to hazing, allegedly conducted by some members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity. (Photo by CYRILLE CUPINO / Radyo Inquirer)

The list of Aegis Juris members charged for the fatal hazing of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III may still expand.

On top of the 19 fraternity members already facing complaints for murder, obstruction of justice, perjury and violation of the antihazing law at the Department of Justice, the Manila Police District (MPD) is studying the inclusion of at least 12 more.

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MPD spokesperson Supt. Erwin Margarejo said they would base their next move on the Sept. 17 Facebook messaging thread presented in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, which showed up to 30 Aegis Juris members taking part in discussions purportedly to cover up the fatal hazing.

Secret meeting

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It revealed a plan for them to meet in a Quezon City hotel hours after Castillo died in initiation rites held at the fraternity’s library in Sampaloc, Manila. Nineteen fraternity members went to the meeting, MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel said in the hearing.

Margarejo said the online chat members were “planning to obstruct justice on the ongoing investigation into Castillo’s death.”

The police would include more names in the complaint as soon as they verify the identities of the other members and “evaluate their degree of participation,” he added.

“It was very obvious that they tried to cover up the case. Considering that they are officers of the court, they are lawyers, they already violated their oath to (best) exemplify the legal profession and do no injustice,” Margarejo said in an interview on Friday.

Earlier complaints

On Sept 27, the MPD police filed charges for murder and obstruction of justice against 18 Aegis members. On Oct. 19, Castillo’s parents filed a supplemental complaint to include Nilo Divina, dean of the University of Santo Tomas-Faculty of Civil law and a member of Aegis Juris.

Margarejo also said the MPD was also looking into the possible involvement of still-unidentified members of Regina Legis et Juris, Aegis Juris’ sister organization, who were reportedly present during Castillo’s fatal initiation rites.

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On Friday afternoon, Atio’s parents Horacio and Carmina submitted Castillo’s old laptop to the MPD in hopes of finding more electronic evidence pertinent to the case.

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TAGS: Aegis Juris, antihazing law, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, Metro, news
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