THE PARENTS of slain UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III said they are hopeful to secure a conviction against the ‘Aegis 10’ after a hearing on Tuesday.
Horacio Jr. and Carmina Castillo said they are confident that they have a strong case against the members of Aegis Juris fraternity who were tagged in the death of their son on Sept. 17 last year.
The ‘Aegis 10’ who are currently detained at the Manila City Jail are Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Hans Mattew Rodrigo, and Marcelino Bagtang.
“[We are] hopeful, very hopeful […] we have a dead person, pinakamalakas na ebidensya ‘yun. [M]ayroon siyang mga tama sa braso. Indication na ‘yun ng hazing and talagang sigurado ako [sa] perfect conviction, even those na hindi pa andoon, ‘yung idadagdag pa lang ‘yung mga tao, perfect conviction pa rin ang kalalabasan nun,” Carmina said.
‘Stuck’ on Sept. 17
Horacio Jr. lamented the changes in their lives a year after the death of their son.
“Syempre, kulang ka ng anak. Kahit papano, gusto mo mag-adjust pero hindi ka maka-adjust […] ‘yung mga ibang bata lumalaki… ‘yung mga batchmate ni Atio sa law school are already [in] second year,” Horacio Jr. said
“[W]e feel na nandun pa rin kami, that particular day. ‘Yung particular time, Sept. 17,” Carmina added.
Atio’s parents said it was painful for them when the paddle that was used during the initiation rites that killed their son was presented in court.
“That’s the smoking gun. ‘Yun ‘yung magpapatunay na because of that violence, ginamit nila ‘yung [paddle], ginamit nila ‘yung physical na suntok. ‘Yun ‘yung ikinamatay ng anak namin. [M]asakit na makita namin ‘yung paddle and for the Aegis Juris, it’s their crowning glory, but to us, it’s a piece of wooden trash na ginamit nila sa pagpatay sa anak ko,” the Castillos said.
In addition, Atio’s parents claimed that the fratmen “were given the wrong advice [on] how to handle this situation.”
“They were given false hopes. ‘Hindi, kaya natin ‘to. Kaya natin ‘yan. Aayusin natin ‘yan.’ […] They were given that. Even the parents of those accusers were given that. ‘Wag kayong mag–aalala mommy, daddy, kakayanin natin ‘to. […] Before you know it, they’ll be back home’,” Carmina said.
She argued that it is impossible for the Aegis 10 to walk free considering the recommendation of life imprisonment under the new law.
“Dapat may point of realization na it’s going towards ‘yung hatol na no bail, life imprisonment, tapos, you know, dapat ma-re-realize nila. Masasayang lang nila ang buhay nila for what? For this kapatiran?” Horacio Jr. said.
Horacio Jr. said the pending disbarment case against UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and twenty other lawyers will soon be decided upon by the Supreme Court (SC), adding that he is thankful for the immediate action of the high court on the matter.
Carmina claimed that Aegis Juris members worked in connivance with Dean Divina in covering up Atio’s death.
“These are all lawyers. These lawyers all participated dun sa cover up. Nakakahiya. Again, I stress, sino nagsabi[ng] sunugin ang tickler, linisin ang [fraternity library], tanggalin ‘yung mga CCTV… Anong klase silang mga lawyer… Nakakahiya,” she said.
Carmina added that after Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s committee report on the hazing incident was accepted by the SC, the high court acted without anyone filing a disbarment case.
Atio’s parents stressed that their struggle for justice will not end unless hazing is banned completely.
“It will never end hanggang sa may mamatay pa because of hazing. Hindi matatapos ‘yung laban namin. It doesn’t end with our son,” Carmina said.
The hearing was presided over by Judge Marivic Umali of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 at the Manila City Hall. The next hearing is set on Sept. 18. F ANGEL B. DUKHA III and CRIS EUGENE T. GIANAN