JUSTICE SECRETARY Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday issued an immigration lookout bulletin order for 65 persons of interests, including UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, on the case of slain Civil Law freshman and Political Science alumnus Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
The immigration lookout order was issued following a Senate hearing held Oct. 18 which revealed the alleged meeting of some members of the Civil Law-based fraternity Aegis Juris in a hotel in Quezon City to discuss Castillo’s case and the planned cover-up of the victim’s death.
On Sept. 20, 16 members of Aegis Juris were placed under a previous immigration lookout bulletin order.
Former Aegis Juris Secretary Marc Anthony Ventura, accompanied by his mother and lawyer, went to the office of Aguirre on Tuesday to be under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and shared what he knew about Castillo’s case.
“Unang physical punishment, inumpisahan sa pagsuntok sa kaniyang (Castillo) braso. […] Hangga’t hindi pumuputok [‘yung] kaniyang braso ay tuloy-tuloy lang sila. Noong magang-maga na, ginamitan nila ng spatula,” Aguirre told reporters in a press briefing held Wednesday.
Aguirre said there were about more than 10 fratmen who punched the victim and that Castillo was to receive 11 paddle hits instead of 10 as he was the sole neophyte in the fraternity.
“So noong third paddle against Atio tinanong pa siya kung kaya pa niya. Sumagot pa yata si Atio na kaya pa niya. But in the fourth paddle, hindi niya na kaya and he collapsed already,” Aguirre noted.
“Unintelligible na ‘yung kaniyang response; ‘pag tinatanong siya hindi na siya maka-respond, parang umuungol na lang siya. But after a few minutes, siguro noong nakita nilang parang nagkakamalay si Atio, they struck him for the fifth time. […] Lalong nag-collapse,” he added.
The members used candle drippings, hoping that Castillo will respond in pain. But he was unresponsive so they called John Paul Solano, also a member of the fraternity and a registered medical technologist, to provide assistance to the victim.
Solano failed to revive Castillo and the fratmen decided to bring the victim to a hospital.
“Kaya tumawag na ng sasakyan, […] sinakay na siya papuntang ospital which they agreed to bring him to Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital. Noong dumating si Solano, binaba uli nila si Atio and they tried to revive him. Mayroon siyang tinurok pa para ma-revive lang,” Aguirre said.
“Mayroon pa namang pulse. Because of that, binaba uli nila sa library. Noong hindi nag-succeed, sinakay uli nila sa pick-up and ang pagkaalam ni Marc Ventura ay dadalhin sa Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital pero mukhang nagbago ng isip at dinala sa Chinese General Hospital,” he added.
Aguirre clarified that the pick-up car’s driver was Arvin Balag’s (Aegis Juris President) and not Ralph Trangia’s (Aegis Juris Sergeant at arms), which the National Bureau of Investigation is already aware of.
Ventura also told Aguirre that he met Castillo when the victim had to go to the fraternity library for a week and be subjected to physical and psychological test to show his commitment to the group.
He also claimed that he was present during the pre-initiation until Atio was brought to the hospital and has not mentioned anything about the victim’s health condition.
The initiation rites lasted for three to four hours, the member-turned state witness said.
Aguirre said Ventura will be no longer part of the accused in the case as he is the only witness under WPP and is willing to face consequences even at a cost of leaving the fraternity. F MARIA EDEN T. DINO