Divina refutes seeing Atio; Senate panel shows CCTV footage
University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina has denied meeting Horacio “Atio” Castillo III at his law office days prior the alleged hazing that led to the law student’s death last September 17.
However, footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) secured from the Pacific Star Building in Makati City, where the Divina Law firm is holding office, seemed to suggest otherwise.
At Monday’s resumption of the hearing on the death of Castillo presided by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, Senator Panfilo Lacson presented the CCTV footage purportedly taken last September 12.
Lacson is the chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
The CCTV footage showed a man, supposedly Castillo, wearing a blue jacket and black pants inside the Pacific Star Building. Castillo’s parents confirmed that the man in the video was their son, noting that the jacket was a bought by the mother of the alleged hazing victim.
“It looks very much like him. In that picture you will see his blue jacket; his mom bought that blue jacket. He was wearing black pants, and also the hair style,” Castillo’s father, Horacio Jr., told Lacson.
Castillo’s mother, Carminia, affirmed her husband’s testimony. A photo of the blue jacket was likewise flashed on the big screen at the Senate gallery where the Senate hearing was being conducted.
“Established yung fact na Atio indeed visited at least, the Pacific Star building. We’re not concluding Divina law office ang pinuntahan,” Lacson said.
Divina confirmed that his law office is situated in the building, but he also repeatedly belied meeting Castillo at his office or inside the building.
“One thing is for certain, he (Castillo) did not set foot in Divina Law. We installed 16 CCTVs in our office and it will clearly show that he did not set foot in Divina Law office,” Divina said.
Prior this, Senator Grace Poe said that she wanted to clarify some connections implied from the said footage.
According to Poe, last September 12, Castillo texted his mother saying he was at a law office along Buendia.
“There are just a few connections here that we need to seriously note,” Poe said. “So I just want to make sure that they’re complying because their general counsel is DivinaLaw, again connected to this situation.”
“Pacific Star building is owned by Century properties, and their corporate secretary is a senior partner of Divina law firm. The same owner of Pacific Star is also the owner of Novotel hotels and resort kung saan nagkita yung frat members pagkatapos (mamatay ni Castillo),” she added.
Poe was referring to an alleged meeting of the Aegis Juris fraternity members and seniors at the Novotel in the afternoon of September 17.
In a previous hearing, Manila Police District Senior Supt. Joel Coronel said at least 19 fraternity members attended the meeting in a function room on the third floor of the hotel, to allegedly plan a “cover-up” on Castillo’s case.
“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,” pointed out Senator Miguel Zubiri.