2 Aegis Juris fratmen deny involvement in Atio hazing

MANILA — Some members of the Aegis Juris fraternity who were tagged in the hazing death of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III on Thursday appeared before the Department of Justice (DOJ) to refute the charges against them.

Fraternity members Alex Bose and Nathan Anarna submitted their counter-affidavits to the prosecution panel led by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva.

Just like their fraternity brothers, they sought the dismissal of murder, hazing and obstruction of justice charges filed against them by the Manila Police District and Castillo’s parents.

In his 26-page counter-affidavit submitted to the prosecution panel, Bose claimed he did not participate in any manner in the alleged planning, initiation rites, hazing, cover-up, meetings, chat messages, robbery and/or other purported criminal activities against the person or property of the late Atio Castillo.

Bose also noted that he “was not at the alleged place of incident during the alleged final stages of the initiation of Atio, specifically when the late Atio Castillo was allegedly paddled and subsequently died.”

In his 16-page counter-affidavit, Anarna made a similar denial and also claimed that he was not present in their library when the alleged hazing took place.

“I vehemently and strongly deny all allegations/ accusations against me, the truth of the matter being that I am completely innocent of all offenses charged,” Anarna said.

Fraternity president Arvin Balag, master initiator Axel Hipe and other key respondents, including John Paul Solano and Ralph Trangia, have already filed their respective answers to the investigating panel in previous hearings.

Solano, a medical technologist, had previously lied that he brought the badly beaten Castillo to the Chinese General Hospital after he found him slumped on a road pavement in Tondo, Manila on September 19.

He later admitted during the Senate inquiry that he was just following orders from elder Aegis Juris members who had sought his assistance in reviving Castillo.

The other respondents have also submitted their respective answers to the DOJ panel and sought the dismissal of the charges.

Villanueva said she had given other respondents until November 3 to submit their respective counter-affidavits.

The panel of prosecutors set the submission of a reply on November 9 and November 16 for the filing of rejoinder.

Castillo died after attending the “welcoming rites” of the fraternity last September 16. PNA-northboundasia.com