Castillo family to include Divina, UST officials in criminal complaint

Rambo Talabong
Family considers UST Law dean Nilo Divina, a member on-leave of the Aegis Juris fraternity, liable in the death of Horacio Castillo III

INVOLVED? UST Law dean Nilo Divina faces senators probing the death of Horacio Castillo III. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The family of Horacio Castillo III is planning to include University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina and “other officials” of the school in their criminal charges.

This was manifested by their lawyer Lorna Kapunan during the preliminary investigation on Castillo’s death facilitated by a Department of Justice (DOJ) panel on Wednesday, October 3.

Through a supplemental affidavit, they will accuse UST officials of violating the Anti-Hazing Act  resulting to the death of the boy fondly called ‘Atio’.

“Based on the Senate hearing that there is, there are statements enough from the dean himself that would put his credibility in question,” Kapunan told reporters after she was asked for clarification.

“It would seem that, quoting the senators, that there is an apparent cover-up,” Kapunan added. (READ: Aegis Juris co-founder vows ‘no cover-up’ in Castillo’s fatal hazing)

In the Senate hearing, Divina said he immediately called the parents of Castillo when he found out about their son’s death—an account which Kapunan contests, saying her clients were not informed right away.

Kapunan cited the Anti-Hazing Act which says that: “The school authorities including faculty members who consent to the hazing or who have actual knowledge thereof, but failed to take any action to prevent the same from occurring shall be punished as accomplices for the acts of hazing committed by the perpetrators.”

Kapunan also slammed UST for deflecting responsibility in the case of Castillo by repeatedly citing that Aegis Juris was not an accredited fraternity in 2017.

Kapunan did not clarify who the other UST officials they were considering to sue.

The Castillo family has until October 9 to file supplemental affidavits, the date of the next preliminary investigation proceeding. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.