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Lawyers in Aegis Juris hazing may be disbarred

THE mother of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student and Aegis Juris neophyte Horacio “Atio” Castillo III on Thursday called for the disbarment of the lawyers involved in the initiation rites that led to her son’s hazing death and the coverup of the crime.

Carminia Castillo made her statement even as a representative of the Supreme Court’s Office of the Bar Confidant said lawyers with pending cases filed against them may not take their oaths during Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the death of Atio.

In other developments:

• The University of Santo Tomas Law Dean and Aegis Juris Fraternity member on Thursday said the rest of the UST law community should not be judged for the actions of some of its members who are accused in Atio’s hazing death. 

“There are 780 students sa UST [College of Law]. How many were involved... just a few. They do not speak for the Faculty of Civil Law,” Nilo Divina told dzBB radio.

He made his statement a day after the Senate hearing on Atio’s death.

• The Anti-Hazing law is a special law so that all those who helped in the coverup following the death of Atio could be held liable for obstruction of justice, Senator Francis Escudero said on Thursday.

Since the Philippine National Police had already filed murder charges against the frat men involved in the hazing  death of 22-year-old Atio, the “senior brod” in the coverup was liable as an accessory to the crime, Escudero said.

“The senior brod who helped conceal the crime is liable as an accessory and the penalty is two degrees lower than the crime charged against the principal [suspects],” he said. 

Carminia said the people implicated in her son’s death did not have the right to be lawyers.

“are shameful. They do not even deserve to be called lawyers. They do not even deserve to represent the guilty ones. They do not have the right to become lawyers,” Carminia said a day after the Senate hearing on Atio’s death.

“They should be disbarred. That’s what they need.”

The Senate hearing held Wednesday was told that 30 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity formed a group chat where they seemed to discuss plans of “cleaning up” the evidence in Atio’s fatal hazing and reaching out to his parents so they would not make noise.

Manila Police District Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said a total of 19 of the 30 people met on the same day Atio was proclaimed dead, which revealed that a coverup was being planned.

Carminia said the group chat was proof that “they were trying to coverup everything.”

 She described the Aegis Juris members in question as murderers, saying they could have done something to save Atio after he collapsed but instead talked about how to coverup the crime.

“They let him die. They were all murderers. They just let him die,” she said.

Carminia said if the frat members could have done something “this could have been a different story.” 

She also said the phone numbers she called to ask about her son that tragic day in September belonged to the members now accused of the crime, such as Axel Hipe, Ralph Trangia, Marc Anthony Ventura and Aegis Juris head Arvin Balag.

Balag was cited for contempt in the Senate hearing on Wednesday after refusing to answer questions from the senators.

John Paul Solano, another suspect in the case, earned the ire of Senator Miguel Zubiri for continuing to refuse to execute a sworn affidavit.

Atio’s parents said while they were angry with the suspects, they also pitied them for they “no longer have a future.”

Topics: Horacio “Atio” Castillo III , Disbarment , Lawyers , Hazing , Carminia Castillo , Nilo Divina , Senate hearing
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