DOJ ends probe on Atio hazing case

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to submit for resolution the criminal charges filed against the members of Aegis Juris Fraternity members in connection with the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III allegedly due to hazing last September.

During the clarificatory hearing pertaining to the affidavit submitted by suspect-turned-witness Marc Anthony Ventura on Monday, the three-member investigating panel headed by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva ended the probe after the submission of the response of the respondents to the affidavit of Ventura.

Ventura, who is under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program, earlier narrated how his fraternity brothers took turns in beating up Castillo inside the Aegis Juris library in Sampaloc, Manila.

He also named some of Aegis Juris members who took part in the initiation.

The panel initially wrapped up its preliminary investigation last November 16 but had to re-open it after receiving a copy of Ventura’s sworn statement just last January 3.

The MPD filed its complaint before the DOJ on Sept. 25, 2017, while Atio’s parents submitted a supplemental complaint on Oct. 9, 2017.

The MPD named 18 respondents in its complaint for murder, robbery and in violation of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law.

Meanwhile, Atio’s parents filed charges of murder, robbery, and violation the Anti-Hazing Law against 31 individuals, including UST law dean Nilo Divina.

They also charged 23 respondents of committing four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.

The family said Castillo died after undergoing initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity on September 17, 2017.