By VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS
HE IS the best son any parent could have.
This is how Horacio Castillo Jr. talked about his son “Atio” who was laid to rest on Wednesday at the Manila Memorial Park.
“Horacio, our son, is a good son, a perfect son,” Horacio Jr. said during his eulogy. “Any day was an exciting day for him. He was grown up and experiencing life. […] He is full of life and aspirations. He is righteous and kind to all. He believed in God. He was a man for others.”
But on Sept. 18, the parents of Atio learned of their son’s death, days after they were informed that he was at the “welcoming rites” of Civil Law-based fraternity Aegis Juris.
“Barely two months after enrolling at the UST Faculty of Civil Law, he was brutally murdered at the hands of his initiators. These so-called fraternity brothers robbed him of his dreams and aspirations,” Horacio Jr. said.
Aegis Juris member John Paul Solano, who previously lied about finding Atio’s body dumped in Tondo, Manila, has surrendered to the office of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and was charged with murder, obstruction of justice, perjury, robbery and violation of Anti-Hazing Law.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, ordered Solano’s release from jail on Sept. 27.
Ralph Trangia, one of the principal suspects in the case, fled the country a day before the DOJ placed some members of Aegis Juris Fraterniy under an immigration lookout bulletin order.
Horacio Jr. hopes that his son’s death would pave way to serve justice to people who lost their lives to hazing. “We will miss you terribly, but we will be okay. Pray for us, Atio, and give us the strength to fight for justice—justice for you and justice for all those who lost their lives to hazing.”
Atio’s mother, Carmina Castillo, said she is still confident that the prime suspects in the case will be detained in no time.
“Uuwi din iyon (Ralph Trangia). Anong gagawin niya doon? Babalik rin iyon [sa Pilipinas]. […] Lagi nilang sinasabi na masama ‘yung mga pulis. Hindi lahat ng pulis ay masama at hindi lahat ng abugado mabait,” Castillo’s mother told the Flame in a previous interview.
Carmina called on the UST administration, Faculty of Civil Law, and authorities to help in finding justice for her son.
“Tulungan nila kami. Ni hindi ko nga alam kung kailan namatay ‘yung anak ko ‘di ba, kung ano ba talaga [ang] nangyari sa kanya, kung anong oras [siya namatay], kung Sunday morning ba talaga or Saturday,” Carmina said.
During the mass for Atio’s interment, Rev. Fr. Winston Cabading O.P., former secretary-general of the University, urged the people to resist “darkness.”
“There is something strange about the brotherhood that seems to harm in order to bond. A brotherhood that seeks to harm in order to bond does not come from God,” Cabading said. “This is the one thing that we need to fight. Not to be overcome by the darkness, the evil one wants to bring into the world.” F with reports from MARIA EDEN T. DINO and ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES