DOJ indicts 10 fratmen for hazing in Atio Castillo slay

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:

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:

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:

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. – Rappler.com

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 lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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