MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday, November 6, raised the possibility that Aegis Juris fratman Mark Ventura is a "Trojan horse" in the fatal hazing of Horacio "Atio" Castillo III.
Ventura, who was provisionally admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), has already told investigators what he knows about the case.
But during the 3rd hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, Lacson asked the DOJ if they have considered that Ventura is being used to deceive investigators or conceal the truth.
"To be candid… we have not as yet received the testimony of Mr Ventura," Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr told Lacson.
He explained that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II left for the United States the day after Ventura was provisionally admitted to the WPP.
"He will be arriving tonight and possibly tomorrow, we'll be having a meeting with regards to this issue," Catalan explained.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who earlier praised Ventura for "choosing to tell the truth," asked the latter if he really is a "Trojan horse."
"Is that true, or are you here to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?" Zubiri asked.
Ventura answered: "I'm not an angel, I'm not a saint, but I'm here to tell the truth. Only few good men can tell the truth and nothing but the truth."
In a chance interview after the hearing, Lacson backtracked about the "Trojan horse" comment.
"On second thought, the mere fact that he changed lawyers from Aegis Juris members to non-Aegis Juris members, that's indication enough that he's already severing ties with the Aegis Juris by testifying against his fellow frat members," the senator said.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, suspended the hearing on Monday. (READ: How Aegis Juris fratmen are defending themselves in Atio Castillo slay case)
Asked if there would be more hearings on the issue, the senator said he will still have to consult with majority of the committee members. – Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.