Senate report: Step down from post is least Dean Divina can do
The least that University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina could do to make up for the “injustice” done to the family of freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III was to step down from his post.
This opinion was contained in a 33-page committee report signed by 14 senators and endorsed on the floor on Wednesday by Senator Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs. The report was prepared by Lacson’s committee and the committee on justice and human rights chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
The report, posted on the Senate’s official website, noted that photos showing Divina’s “active participation” during anniversaries of Aegis Juris fraternity as well as his “discretionary acts” before and even after Castillo’s death “negate his never-ending claims of temporarily severing ties with the fraternity.”
“His position as Dean of UST Faculty of the Civil Law clearly posed a threat towards having a thorough investigation of the matter. So long as he remains in office, possible student witnesses may opt to remain silent out of fear of jeopardizing their grades and ultimately their chances of graduating,” the report said.
“If the Dean had the courtesy to take a leave of absence from the fraternity so as not to lead under a cloud of bias in favor of his fraternity brothers as he claims to be, with more reason for him to humbly step down as Dean and let the investigation takes its own course.”
“That is the least he can do to make up for the injustice done to the Castillo family. After all, his fraternity claims to subscribe to the principle, ‘Do no injustice, suffer no injustice,’” the report added.
While the panels were “uncertain” whether it was in the interest of the fraternity or Divina’s own “self-preservation,” the report said the Dean “clearly portrayed a pattern of that passing the blame onto others.
“In fact, we find it strange that the UST continues to stand by him despite his inefficiency and his tendency to attribute faults to the institution that his very own law represents. Using the words of Dean Divina himself, there is nothing shameful in owning up to one’s mistake,” it said.
Castillo died of hazing on September 27 last year. /jpv
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