14 Tau Gamma members face criminal raps over Benilde student’s death

Rappler.com
14 Tau Gamma members face criminal raps over Benilde student’s death
The DOJ approves the filing in court of charges against 14 out of 20 individuals linked to the death of 18-year-old Guillo Servando

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of criminal charges against 14 members of the Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity over the death of De La Salle-College St Benilde student Guillo Servando last June.

Servando, an 18-year-old sophomore, died on June 29 after going through fraternity hazing

A month after his death, the Makati police and the National Bureau of Investigation filed charges against 20 individuals over Servando’s death.  The DOJ dismissed charges against 6 of them.

In a Tuesday, December 2 statement, the DOJ said a Panel of National Prosecution Service (NPS) prosecutors found “probable cause” to indict the following who “were present during the final initiation rites of victims Servando [John Paul] Raval, [Lorenze Anthony] Augustin, and [Levin Roland] Flores on Juny 28, 2014”:

  • Cody Errol Morales 
  • Daniel Paul Martin Bautista 
  • Kurt Michael Almazan 
  • Esmerson Nathaniel Calupas 
  • Hans Killian Tatlonghari 
  • Eleazar Pablico III
  • John Kevin Navoa
  • Vic Angelo Dy 
  • Mark Andrew Ramos 
  • Michael David Castañeda 
  • Justin Francis Reyes 
  • alias “Kiko” 
  • alias “Bea” 
  • and a “Jane Doe”

The 14 face charges for violating the anti-hazing law. The decision was made in a resolution dated November 5, 2014 but only released on December 2.

The department said the 3 survivors’ “vivid recollection” of the June 28 hazing was “not rebutted” by the suspects who “either resorted to flight or disappear[ance] to parts unknown.” The testimony of the survivors “more than swayed our minds to morally conclude that they were telling the truth, and that their testimonies were in fact credible, true and straightforward,” the DOJ said.

The panel said they decided to include Almazan as one of those charged despite his explanation that he only joined the initiation rites under pressure from Morales. The DOJ said his defense was “uncorroborated and self-serving,” and would be better off “threshed out in the full-blown trial of case.”

Among those cleared of charges include Jemar Pajarito, the caretaker of the house where the initiation rites were held.

The DOJ explained Pajarito was not aware of the planned initiation rites and that “he did not participate in the infliction of physical harm on the person of the neophytes,” but, “[i]n fact, … provided the victims assistance in order to prevent them from fainting or passing out.”

Also cleared of charges are fraternity members Luis Arevalo, Carl Francis Loresca, and Steven Jorge Peñano, who were present or seen “passing by” during the rites but “did not, in fact, inflict any physical harm to the victims.”

The same decision was made on the charges against Ma. Teresa Dayanghirang, and Alyssa Valbuena, the DOJ said. – Rappler.com

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