UST law student dies from hazing
Six frat men hunted; DoJ orders probe
A 22-YEAR-OLD freshman law student of the University of Santo Tomas died after undergoing hazing, allegedly by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity, police said Monday.
Horacio Tomas Castillo III died of a massive heart attack due to injuries consistent with hazing, the initial autopsy by the Manila Police District medico-legal team said.
Both Castillo’s arms showed severe blood clotting, possibly from being beaten with solid objects, and there were cigarette burns and drops of candle wax on different parts of the body, the MPD said.
On Sunday, Castillo was found on a sidewalk along Balut in Tondo, Manila. A concerned passerby brought him to Chinese General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
MPD chief PSSupt. Joel Napoleon Coronel said they were looking at the involvement of at least six members of the Aegis Juris fraternity, and possibly alumni and faculty members who were said to be involved in the hazing over the weekend.
“We are coordinating closely with the family, especially the parents, who are providing us with the material information regarding the activities of their son last Saturday night who they claim was supposed to attend the reception or initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity,” Coronel said.
He also said they were coordinating with UST, which condemned all forms of hazing and vowed to punish those responsible for Castillo’s death.
The UST Faculty of Civil Law ordered the preventive suspension of all officers and members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
“Members of this group… would not be allowed to enter the campus or the Faculty of Civil Law or attend classes until further orders,” UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said, in a memo posted Monday on Facebook by the Varsitarian.
Divina said the investigation would be immediately conducted so that “appropriate sanctions [could] be imposed.”
Horacio Castillo Jr., the victim’s father, cried after they were informed of the autopsy results. He asked that those responsible for his son’s death face the consequences of their crime.
Earlier, the victim’s mother, Carmina Castillo, told radio dzBB that their son told them he was invited to join a fraternity. He told them the initiation was already over and the welcome event, an overnight drinking session, would be held on Saturday at UST. Horacio never made it home.
“We received news report that a UST law student, Horacio Castillo III, died in an alleged hazing incident involving the Aegis Juris Fraternity,” UST said in a statement. “No words can describe our sadness for this unfortunate incident.”
“We express our profound sympathy and offer our prayers to his family for their pain and anguish—a pain that we share seeing that the life of our very own student, with all of its aspirations and potentials, taken away because of a senseless act.
“At the same time, we condemn in no uncertain terms hazing in any form or manner. Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion.
“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice.
“Investigation is ongoing to ferret out the truth, determine liability and institute the necessary legal actions.”
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe Castillo’s death and build a criminal case against the perpetrators.
“The DOJ condemns any act of senseless violence committed against our youth and against any innocent person for that matter,” Aguirre said, in a statement.
“As a parent myself, I feel their loss and anguish. We will endeavor to see to it that those who are responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” said Aguirre who himself is member of a fraternity, Lex Talionis of San Beda College of Law School, along with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The MPD earlier reported that a concerned citizen found Castillo at H. Lopez Boulevard and Infanta Street in Balut, Tondo, at about 8 a.m. Sunday. He was taken to Chinese General Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Castillo’s family learned about the incident about 1 a.m. Monday, when the student’s mother received a text message from the Chinese General Hospital. His bloated body bore bruises, cigarette and candle wax burns.
Crying, his father also told radio dzBB that he had tried to dissuade his son from joining the fraternity.