Bid of hazing suspects to stop arrests junked
A Manila regional trial court judge denied the motions to suspend the issuance of arrest warrants filed by the Aegis Juris fraternity members facing criminal charges over the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III last year.
In a hearing on Friday afternoon, Branch 40 Presiding Judge Alfredo Ampuan said he would proceed to determining probable cause to issue warrants against the 10 accused, which would lapse on March 22.
The hearing was in connection with Castillo’s death on Sept. 17, 2017, during fatal initiation rites led by the accused frat men.
All the 10 accused appeared before the court for the first time, including Aegis Juris officers Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Oliver John Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan and Axel Munro Hipe; and members Danielle Hans Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Marcelino Bagtang, Robin Ramos, and Jose Miguel Salamat.
In an order, Ampuan denied Trangia’s motion to suspend the issuance of a warrant of arrest on the basis of continuous trial.
Similar prayers included in the omnibus motions of Salamat, Ramos and Bagtang have also been denied.
Meanwhile, Chan, Salamat, Balag, Rodrigo and Ramos’ motions for bail will be set for hearing only after the court has determined probable cause and only after their arraignment and pretrial.
Last week, the Department of Justice ordered their indictment on the nonbailable charges of hazing based on the testimony of fellow Aegis Juris member Mark Anthony Ventura.
Ventura, who was also present during Castillo’s fatal initiation rites, is now under the DOJ’s witness protection program.
Ampuan also ordered the DOJ prosecutors to comment on Salamat, Ramos, Bagtang, Rodrigo and Balag’s motion to quash as well as Salamat and Ramos’ motion to invalidate Ventura as a state witness within three days.
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