Lawyer linked to Atio Castillo death cover-up wins in 2019 elections

Rambo Talabong
Lawyer linked to Atio Castillo death cover-up wins in 2019 elections
The Senate committee that probed into the death of hazing victim Atio Castillo earlier recommended 'immediate institution of proper disciplinary or disbarment proceedings' against Anarna

MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Anarna, the lawyer linked to the cover-up of slain law school freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, won in the 2019 elections.

He ran for Cavite’s 5th district provincial board, and was able to secure the second seat. According to the latest partial, unofficial tally of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) transparency server, Anarna received 89,848 votes.

His district covers Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez, and Silang.

Anarna proclaimed his victory on his Facebook account, calling himself a board member-elect, with the caption “Bokal sa pusong nagpapasalamat (Wholeheartedly grateful)”, playing on the Filipino word for board member “bokal.”

He added: “Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong tiwala at suporta (I thank everyone for your trust and support.” (TIMELINE: Death of Horacio Castillo III from alleged Aegis Juris hazing)

Lawyer Anarna ran as an independent candidate, just trailing behind number 1 board member Ivee Jayne Morello of the Nacionalista Party (98,394 votes), and leading against 
Nationalist People’s Coalition-backed Percival Cabuhat (80,309 votes).

During his campaign, Anarna described himself as the “Abogado ng Masa (lawyer of the masses).”

His involvement in the Atio case

'ATIO'. UST law student Horacio Castillo III. Photo from Castillo's Facebook profile

Atio Castillo was the UST law school student believed to have been beaten to death in an initiation ceremony of the Aegis Juris Fraternity on September 17, 2018. The suspects in Castillo’s death were no less than the seniors of the fraternity who promised him companionship in law school.

Fratman Anarna was not included among his 10 frat brothers who were accused of participating in the deadly ceremony but was determined by the Senate public order committee probing into the death “to have had knowledge of the death of Castillo and failed to report the same to the authorities.”

He was later recommended by the Senate panel for “immediate institution of proper disciplinary or disbarment proceedings” before the Supreme Court.

Police identified Anarna as part of the Aegis Juris alumni chatbox who planned how the fraternity could avoid charges during the early days of the explosive case. (READ: What’s inside the Aegis Juris alumni chat box when Atio was killed)

In the chatbox, Anarna is believed to have told fratmen to clean up their fraternity library where the hazing was done, allegedly saying, “Bukas makakakuha na sila (pulis) [ng] search warrant sa frat lib. Sana malinis na. Matangga[l] na ang paddle d’un.”

(Cops might get a search warrant as early as tomorrow for the fraternity library. I hope it’s already clean and the paddle is taken out.) – 

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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.