As an alumna of the University of Santo Tomas myself, it pains me to write this piece, but I feel strongly for Horacio Castillo, the freshman UST law student who was robbed of his right to live a full life via senseless killing. My heart goes to the family he suddenly left behind and whose lives will forever be changed because of this unfortunate incident.
I rejoice and take pride whenever Thomasians gain achievements but it’s difficult to sit idly by in the light of serious infractions of the law being committed at the expense of one of our very own.
Of course, I’m assuming that since the Aegis Juris Fraternity is, according to its website, a recognized law school-based fraternity ‘exclusively domiciled’ in the UST’s Faculty of Civil Law, all those involved in the initiation rites were from the same school.
Inspite of several infamous similar instances in the past, people seemingly have not learned. Sadly, this is principally because the conviction rate of fraternity members getting involved in hazing deaths is disappointingly low and all we can do each time is hope that the latest victim will not just form part of statistics. It has sort of become a cycle so this time around, authorities should make sure everyone involved must be put to justice.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos, Jr., in his press statement, has rightly branded the suspects in Horacio’s death as ‘killers.’
“We say killers because in a hazing death, all participants in harming the victim are considered principal actors in the commission of the crime. If there were 10 or 20 fraternity officers or members who paddled, kicked, punched or slapped Castillo, then they are all primarily responsible for his death,” Campos, who is also deputy minority leader, said.
He also urged authorities to identify the exact place where Castillo was subjected to hazing because its owner may be sued as accomplice, adding that fraternities are known to perform initiations rites and hazing in the dwellings of their officers or members.
Under the law, the owner of the place where the hazing was conducted is liable as an accomplice, if the owner knew that hazing was being done, and yet, he or she did nothing to stop it. He said schools, on the other hand, can also forcefully use police powers to disband wayward fraternities or rein in unwanted fraternity-related violence.
“School authorities have police powers. On one hand, they may recognize peaceful, scholarly and civic-spirited fraternities. On the other hand, they may disband wayward fraternities, and expel their officers and members,” the lawmaker said.
Under the Anti-Hazing Law, or Republic Act 8049, reclusion perpetua is the penalty for those found responsible for the death, rape, sodomy or mutilation of a person during hazing. Reclusion perpetua means 40 years in prison, with eligibility for possible pardon or parole only after serving 30 years.
Ralph Trangia, who was earlier tagged by the Manila Police District as a ‘suspect’ in Horacio’s death, was seen via CCTV leaving the country a day before a hold-departure was issued against him and 14 other members of the Aegis Juris fraternity. The ownership of the vehicle where Horacio’s body was loaded was traced to Ralph’s father Antonio.
If Ralph’s mother accompanied him so she can help him evade authorities who are hunting him down, she too may face charges. If she willfully and knowingly tries to protect his son, by aiding him in hiding from investigation or shielding his involvement in a crime, this may leave her liable to prosecution for obstruction of justice.
Screengrabs of the chat messages of Aegis Juris fraternity members that were sent anonymously to the ‘Hustisya Para Kay Horacio’, a Facebook page created to seek justice for Horacio, has identified at least seven personalities who were apparently directly involved in the hazing of Horacio, dubbed by one of them as a ‘major frat activity.’ Some even had accompanying photos.
Based on the exchanges, they were preparing for the said Saturday event -- Horacio’s initiation rites -- and wanted it done in a place where their presence will not invite attention. Obviously, as can be gleaned from their conversation come Sunday, something had already gone wrong as a message from ‘Axel’ at 9 a.m. said ‘emergency’ and asked for the number of ‘Popoy’ who, as we know by now, is John Paul Solano, the guy who gave a false testimony and who took Horacio to the hospital.
Then, one ‘Arvin’ sent these messages: ‘delete n’yo muna o’,’code of silence,’ ‘manahimik muna lahat’ and ‘deactivate kayo account.’
The other names that cropped up were ‘Lennert,’ ‘Kim’ and ‘JayAr.’ May each and everyone responsible for Horacio’s death get what they truly deserve -- whatever that is.
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Beauty tip -- Don’t shave unwanted hair in underarms, because skin in underarm and inguinal areas are so sensitive any slight friction will only cause darkening of the skin. (Source: Dr Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical Spa /4108424/4669596/09178038240/ 025053987).
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Jokjok (from Arthur Dimalanta of Makati City) -- PEDRO: Hulaan mo, ano ang pinakamagandang ugali ko?/JUAN: Bigyan mo ko ng clue, pare/PEDRO: Nagsisimula sa letter ‘A’/JUAN: Approachable?/ PEDRO: Mali/ JUAN: Amiable?/ PEDRO: Mali/ JUAN: Sige, fine. Sirit na. Ano? PEDRO: Anest!
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