Aegis Juris ‘head’ denies perjury, obstruction of justice

Arvin Balag. photo from the Facebook page of Sen. Miguel Zubiri

THE ALLEGED incumbent president of the Civil Law-based fraternity Aegis Juris contested on Monday the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice filed by the camp of slain UST law freshman and Political Science alumnus Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

In a counter affidavit signed by Arvin Balag, he detailed laws and stated that the charges against him should be “dismissed outright for lack of merit.”

“As one of the respondents in the instant case, I am provided with this constitutionally mandated presumption of innocence. I have in my favour the presumption of innocence,” Balag said. “Unless there is still probable cause, the instant criminal complaint against me should be dismissed.

Balag is still detained at the Pasay City Jail following the order of Sen. Panfilo Lacson after refusing to confirm in a Senate hearing held Oct. 18 if he is the president of Aegis Juris.

The fraternity “head” refuted the perjury charges filed against him by the camp of Castillo on Sept. 25 and Oct. 9. “[T]he charges contained therein pertains exclusively to [John Paul] Solano.”

Castillo’s camp cited the four statements in the judicial affidavit of Solano dated Sept. 17, which are “allegedly inconsistent” with Solano’s statements during the Senate committee hearing on Sept. 25.

Balag said the complaints did not allege that he made a statement under oath or any affidavit upon a material matter before an authorized officer. The complaints did not also clearly state that he “made a willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood” as stated in the Revised Penal Code.

There were not enough pieces of evidence that would prove he participated in the alleged cover up of the death of Castillo aside from the “screenshots of conversation,” he also claimed.

He “categorically and specifically” denied having knowledge and participation in the conversation obtained from Facebook and said the screenshots were inadmissible as evidence in the case because they violated the rules on electronic evidence and right to privacy and communication correspondence.

On Sept. 20, screenshots of the conversation of seven Aegis Juris members—including Balag and Solano—between Sept. 16 and 17 was uploaded on Facebook.

“In the case at bar, there is no showing that the participants in the conversation captured by the ‘screenshot of conversation’ which complainants saw posted on Facebook consented to making their communication be published in public,” Balag said.

Article III Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution states that “privacy of communication shall be inviolable expect upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.”

In a separate counter-affidavit, Balag said he cannot be held liable for murder and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law because it was not proven in the complaints that he was present during the hazing of Castillo.

On Sept. 17, Castillo was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital after attending the “welcoming rites” of Aegis Juris the day before. F – VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS

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