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11 frat men indicted in Castillo slay case

Eleven members of the Aegis Juris fraternity face violations of anti-hazing law charges for their alleged involvement in the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in September last year, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.

The DoJ said murder was not recommended in the charge sheet due to “insufficiency of evidence.”
The cases were filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court with no bail recommended.
Castillo died of “severe blunt traumatic injuries” after attending welcoming rites of the fraternity.
DoJ Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. said a resolution dated March 6 found probable cause to indict 10 Aegis Juris members for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law who are Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Mhin Wei Chan, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Axel Munrio Hipe, Marcelino Bagtang, Jose Miguel Salamat and Robin Ramos; while charges of perjury and obstruction of justice was filed against John Paul Solano.

The DoJ cleared University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina who was earlier alleged to have knowledge of the hazing rites involving Castillo. The Senate even wanted Divina disbarred despite the clear absence of evidence against him.
Aside from Divina, charges against law faculty secretary Arthur Capili were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
Charges against 10 other respondents and the Aegis Juris Foundation were also dismissed for lack of probable cause.
In a statement, Divina said he is “happy and relieved to finally be cleared of any wrongdoing in the Atio Castillo hazing case.”
“I have always maintained my full innocence throughout this unfortunate incident, and thankfully, this has now been established beyond question. As they say, the moral arc of the universe may be long, but it bends toward justice,” he said.
“I continue to pray for justice for Atio and have full faith in our legal system,” he added.
The DoJ resolution said respondents in the initiation rites were established by the statements of both respondents 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 on September 17, 2017,” it added.
DoJ’s Catalan said the resolution was largely based on the testimony of Mark Anthony Ventura, the Aegis Juris member who has turned government witness.
Catalan called Ventura’s testimony “credible” and “believable”.
Ventura narrated his version of events on the night Castillo underwent initiation rites when the victim was punched, paddled, and made to drink egg yolk he was made to believe was his “masters’” saliva, among others.
Antonio and Rosemarie Trangia, parents of Ralph, were cleared of obstruction of justice. While the woman indeed fled the country with her son, “their eventual return to the Philippines negates her intent to facilitate the escape of the latter,” said the resolution.
The DoJ resolution, however, recommended further investigation on 10 other members of the fraternity to determine their involvement in the crime.
Zubiri: Fratmen
should tell all
Aegis Juris fraternity members should now bare all what they know on the death of Castillo following the filing of charges against them, Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said.
“At this point, I urge all the parties involved to cooperate fully and finally tell all in order to clear their parties involved and aid in the swift resolution of this case,” he said.
Zubiri, who initiated the probe on Castillo’s death in the Senate, welcomed the development in the case.
“This action was one of the recommendations included in the committee report that was filed following the inquiries conducted by the Senate. We have done our part in passing as well a stricter Anti-Hazing Law and so we thank the DOJ for acting on this matter as we all continue to hope for justice to finally be served to the family of Atio,” the senator said.

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