Poe eyes UST law dean’s liability in Atio hazing case
SENATOR Grace Poe said Tuesday the Senate may look into the possible liability of University of Santo Tomas Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina in the fatal hazing of freshman student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
Interviewed on News To Go, Poe said even if Divina had no direct involvement in the hazing, his actions following the incident should be looked into.
“Unang-una, ano ang ginawa niya nu’ng nalaman niyang may nangyaring ganyan? Nagpadala ba siya agad ng alert sa buong school of law na hindi na dapat tangkilikin ang fraternity na ito?” Poe said.
She made the statement even as the Supreme Court on Tuesday required the Senate to submit its comment on the petition filed by Aegis Juris Fraternity leader Arvin Balag questioning the legality of his detention for contempt in the legislative inquiry on Castillo’s fatal hazing.
The high court ordered the Senate to file its comment on the habeas corpus petition filed by Balag on Oct. 25 and gave it 10 days to comply with its order.
Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian on Tuesday called for the imposition of strict penalties on fraternity members who participate in the cover-up of hazing incidents.
He cited the actions taken by the members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity in the wake of Castillo’s hazing death.
Poe also questioned Divina’s actions early this year when several members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity--the same group blamed for Castillo’s death--were involved in a “riot” near The Manila Hotel in 2016.
“Nu’ng nagkaroon ng mga infractions ‘yung Aegis Juris... na nagkaroon ng parang riot diyan sa Manila Hotel [noong 2016], sinuspinde niya pero napakatagal ng proseso, patuloy pa rin ang pag-recruit ng fraternity na ito,” Poe said.
“Dapat malaman: Did he do enough or was he proactive enough as dean of UST to prevent such situations from happening? At saka dapat ding malaman natin, ano ba ang sagot talaga ng mismong head or prefect ng UST dahil napapailalim sa kanila ito.”
Poe said she and her fellow senators noticed negligence on the part of UST’s student office as it could have stopped recognizing the Aegis Juris as an official student organization.
“Ang aming napansin, hindi lamang ako, ‘yung Office of Student Affairs may malaking pagkukulang. Siyempre, kasama na rin diyan si Dean Nilo Divina,” Poe said.
“Nakikita natin na may pagkukulang sa komunikasyon sapagkat ikaw na nga ang Office Student Affairs director, hindi mo pa napasama sa student council head na dapat sa kanilang orientation, hindi nila dapat pinayagan ang fraternity na ito na sumama.”
Poe said the Aegis Juris fraternity was still accepted by UST’s student council despite failing to meet the accreditation deadline in June.
She said the student authority could have done something to prevent hazing.