The way the Manila Police District is handling the investigation into the hazing death of UST law freshman Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III is pretty impressive and very extensive, to say the least.
Sadly, it brought to fore how dark the minds of some of this country’s lawyers -- and prospective future lawyers -- are, based on the Facebook group chat message exchanges among the members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity which was revealed by MPD Director Joel Coronel during the latest Senate inquiry into the incident.
From the look on his face, Coronel, who also happens to be a lawyer also displayed utter disgust at, as how he aptly described it, the said fraternity members had planned to ‘conceal’ the crime and ‘evade’ prosecution as can be gleaned from the conversation thread that was read out by Senator Joel Villanueva who, by the way, is also a Thomasian like myself. The good senator’s sentiment, that the Thomasian community is saddened over the Atio killing, is very true although I was told by one in the know that not all of the frat members had come or are even currently enrolled as students of the UST law faculty.
Coronel is apparently disappointed by the fact that while the said fraternity had earlier issued a statement that it will cooperate fully in the Atio murder case, no help or voluntary information came. It was all for show and in fact, there were even efforts to cover up for those directly involved.
His exact words were ‘... in light of the discovery of these chat messages, it appears that from Sunday, September 17, the objective of the Aegis Juris fraternity is to cover up, conceal, to avoid and evade the prosecution of this case.’
The complete message thread involving about 30 frat members and the subsequent video footages showing 19 of those who attended a meeting on September 17 at the Novotel to discuss the plan of actions were very revealing and full of substance that have bared new vital information that are very helpful to the case.
Going through portions of the said ‘group messenger,’ I can say the exchanges were both shocking and revolting. The frat members involved were all apparently panicky and concerned, not for having the death of a new recruit in their hands but more over the capacity and capability of Atio’s parents to pin down those involved in their son’s death.
They were worried that the Castillos were ‘making noise’ and had money and connections to make the case progress and by the fact that the incident has already drawn the attention of the media.
Notably, one of the members who was apparently not in agreement with the plans of concealing the crime, covering up and shielding those behind the death of Atio, posted this: ‘just a reminder, the frat stand (sic) by the principle do no injustice, suffer no injustice’. He then left the group. Others followed suit and also left the group chat, obviously not wanting any involvement even by way of conversation.
This was not well-taken by some of the frat members who were bent on obstructing justice. They insisted for those who left the group to continue joining by again adding them to the group. One of them even admonished his brods: ’wag tayo mag-iwanan sa panahong ganito!’ and then later, he said: ‘kung 15 na lang tayo na lalaban para sa frat na ito so be it.’ Don’t worry guys, the MPD must be zeroing on all 15 of you by now.
Another revolting portion of the exchanges were those expressing ‘concern’ for the ‘future’ of those who may be charged and incarcerated. Wow! Really? What about Atio who was robbed of a long future ahead of him were it not for his untimely, senseless and violent death? The future of the family he had left behind? Still another shocking part was when one of them, using the name ‘Pareng Edong’ posted a list of what to do in case any of them would be invited by the authorities for questioning. The title of the post was ‘Know Your Rights.’ Again, what about the rights of Atio which they threw out the window?
Notably, one of them said it would be useless to fight it out in court since they will be judged by publicity. This was seconded by another who said that connections will not work because of the special attention the case is getting, with the temerity of expressing sympathy for those behind the hazing death of Atio, thus: ‘Kawawa ’yung brod na makukulong o magtatago habang naglilitis. May mga pangarap din silang maging abogado.’
Then came another evil post: ‘Makakalimutan rin ’yan after sometime. Pero ngayon, damage control muna.’
MPD Director Coronel, please prove these guys wrong. You’ve done a great job so far and kudos to you for that! Let these a-holes remember that what they have done will not be forgotten just like that.
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Jokjok (from) -- GIRL: Mahal mo ba ’ko talaga? Ha?/BOY: Oo naman babes. Alam mo bang ikaw ang susi ng puso ko?/GIRL: Talaga lang ha? Eh sino ’yung nakita ng barkada ko na kasama mo kahapon?/BOY: ’Yun ba? Ala ’yun babes. ‘duplicate’ lang ’yun.
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