DOJ indicts 10 fratmen for hazing in Atio Castillo slay

Lian Buan
DOJ indicts 10 fratmen for hazing in Atio Castillo slay
The Department of Justice drops all charges against UST law dean Nilo Divina

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing hazing charges against 10 Aegis Juris fraternity members over the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

In a resolution signed March 6 and released to media on Thursday, March 8, the DOJ panel indicted the following fratmen for violation of the anti-hazing law:

  1. Arvin Balag
  2. Ralph Trangia
  3. Oliver John Audrey Onofre
  4. Mhin Wei Chan
  5. Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo
  6. Joshua Joriel Macabali
  7. Axel Munro Hipe
  8. Marcelino Bagtang
  9. Jose Miguel Salamat
  10. Robin Ramos

The maximum penalty for violation of the anti-hazing law is life imprisonment. No bail was recommended for the 10 fratmen.

The 10 fratmen were the people who carried out the spatula round, according to witness Marc Anthony Ventura. Ventura said it was Hipe, Trangia, and Balag who carried out the paddling round which proved to be fatal. (READ: The different angles in Atio Castillo’s hazing case)

“The presence and participation of the said respondents in the initiation rites were established by the statements of both Solano and Ventura. As regards respondents Balag and Trangia, their presence and participation are further corroborated by the fact that their respective vehicles were used to transport Atio’s body to Chinese General Hospital,” the DOJ said in its resolution.

Ventura was among those who carried out the spatula round, but the DOJ dismissed all charges against him “by reason of his coverage under the Witness Protection Program.” Read details of Ventura’s affidavit here.

The DOJ will file perjury and obstruction of justice charges against John Paul Solano, another fraternity member who took Castillo to the Chinese General Hospital.

All charges were also dismissed against UST law dean Nilo Divina and his faculty secretary Arthur Capili “for insufficiency of evidence.”

The DOJ recommended that the Manila Police District conduct further investigation into:

  1. Zach Abulencia
  2. Daniel Ragos
  3. Dave Felix
  4. Sam Cagalingan
  5. Alex Cairo
  6. Luis Capulong
  7. Kim Cyrill Roque
  8. Ged Villanueva
  9. Edric Pilapil
  10. RR Magbuhos

Ventura had claimed that Abulencia, Ragos, Cagalingan, Cairo, Capulong, and Pilapil were among the ones who carried out the first round of punching.

The following persons were cleared for lack of probable cause:

  1. Jason Adolfo Robinos
  2. Aeron Salientes
  3. Ranie Rafael Santiago
  4. Zimon Padro
  5. Alex Bose
  6. Leo Lalusis
  7. Lenner Bryan Galicia
  8. Nathan Anarna
  9. Chuck Siazar
  10. Karl Matthew Villanueva
  11. William Merginioo
  12. Cezar Tirol
  13. Oscar Vo
  14. Alexander Flores
  15. Alvin Dysangco
  16. Henry Pablo
  17. Gabriel Robeniol
  18. Michael Joseph Fernandezz
  19. Allan Cristopher Agati
  20. Paulino Yusi
  21. Arnel Bernardo
  22. Edwin Uy

The DOJ dropped the murder charges against the fratmen, saying intent to kill was missing as an element.

“The cumulative acts of the respondent-members were not made for the purpose of killing Atio. The intention was merely to inflict physical harm as part of the fraternity initiation rites,” the DOJ said. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.