DOJ probes Horacio Castillo's death

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) started Wednesday its investigation into the criminal complaints filed against 18 suspects over the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio Castillo III.

The primary suspect John Paul Solano who is facing complaints for murder, violation of the hazing law, robbery, obstruction of justice and perjury, attended the hearing together with his legal counsel Paterno Esmaquel.

The other respondents who failed to attend but were represented by their respective lawyers were: Ralph Trangia, his father Antonio and his mother Rosemarie; Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Karl Mathew Villanueva, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Axel Munro Hipe, Marc Anthony Ventura, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang and Zimon Padro.

Aside from Solano, Jason Adolfo Robiños also personally appeared during the hearing.

Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo and Jose Miguel Salamat failed were a no-show during the legal proceedings.

During the hearing, the legal counsels of Solano and Robiños manifested before the panel led by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva that their clients are ready to file their counter-affidavit.

The two, however, declined to submit their clients' respective affidavits after the complainants, represented by lawyer Lorna Capunan, manifested that they will submit a supplemental complaint-affidavit charging other respondents involved in the death of Castillo.

Capunan during the hearing told the panel of prosecutors that the parents of Castillo, Carminia and Horacio Jr., will file criminal complaints against UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and other university officials.

Capunan claims that there was "cover up" attempt by the dean of the law school in the incident that happened last September 16.

Divina is an alumnus of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

Capunan said that under the anti-hazing law, it is not only the participants that could be held liable but also the "responsible officers of the university" and "officers of the fraternity."

The lawyer said they will use as evidence the transcript of the Senate probe wherein Divina admitted that he knew about the death of Castillo even before the news was reported to Castillo's parents, yet he did nothing.

Capunan claims that Divina at the very least should have informed the victim's parents.

The panel of prosecutors has given Castillo's camp until October 9 to submit their supplemental complaint-affidavit.

It has likewise given the respondents until October 24 to file their respective counter-affidavits refuting the charges filed against them. (SunStar Philippines)
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