DOJ condemns death of UST law student

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II condemned the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio Castillo III due to alleged hazing.

“The DOJ condemns any act of senseless violence committed against our youth and against any innocent person for that matter,” Aguirre said in a statement late Monday.

Aguirre himself is member of a fraternity, Lex Talionis of San Beda College law school, along with President Rodrigo Duterte.

He ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the death of Castillo which was allegedly due to hazing of Aegis Juris fraternity.

In his order, Aguirre tasked the NBI to conduct a parallel probe and build criminal cases against perpetrators of the fatal hazing rites.

Aguirre also condoles with the Castillo family and offered assistance.

“As a parent myself, I feel their loss and anguish. We will endeavor to see to it that those who are responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” the DOJ chief assured.

UST earlier condemned the death of Castillo.

“We condemn in no uncertain terms hazing in any form or manner. Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion,” the Catholic university said in a statement.

“No words can describe our sadness for this unfortunate incident. We express our profound sympathy and offer our prayers to his family for their pain and anguish — a pain that we share seeing that the life of our very own student, with all of its aspirations and potentials, taken away because of a senseless act,” the statement added.

They also assured the Castillo family that they will “leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice”.

On Sunday, Castillo’s body bearing bruises and burns was found dumped along a street in Balut, Tondo.

Prior to the incident, the victim’s father, Horacio Jr., said his son informed him that he will attend the welcoming rites of the fraternity.