Atio Castillo hazing case submitted for resolution
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has submitted for resolution the criminal complaint filed against members of Aegis Juris Fraternity for the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
On Monday’s clarificatory hearing, suspect-turned witness Marc Anthony Ventura answered questions from the three-member investigating panel headed by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva regarding the affidavit he submitted as part of his application to the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
In his affidavit, Ventura narrated in detail Atio’s initiation rites that led to his death.
The panel initially wrapped up its preliminary investigation last November 16 but had to re-open it after receiving a copy of Ventura’s sworn statement just last January 3.
One of the respondents, Axel Hipe, said the re-opening of the preliminary investigation is “highly unfair” while another respondent Arvin Balag said Ventura’s testimony is “patently false and untrue.”
He also opposed the re-opening of the preliminary investigation maintaining that Ventura is “deemed to have waived his right to present his counter-affidavit and/or sworn statement” after the DOJ wrapped up its probe last year.
The MPD filed its complaint before the DOJ on Sept. 25, 2017, while Atio’s parents submitted a supplemental complaint on Oct. 9, 2017.
The MPD named 18 respondents in its complaint for murder, robbery and in violation of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law while Atio’s parents filed a complaint for murder, robbery, and violation the Anti-Hazing Law against 31 individuals.
Castillo died after undergoing initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity on September 17, 2017. /je
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