Cops: Frat out to cover up hazing
MANILA Police District District Director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said Friday the Aegis Juris Fraternity, tagged as the one involved in the hazing death of a neophyte University of Santo Tomas law student, had no intention of cooperating with the police, based on their online messaging logs.
“Despite the fact that they have already met on September 17, hours after [Horacio] Castillo was brought to the hospital dead, it appears that there was no such intention. They had no intention of cooperating, but to cover up this incident,” Coronel said.
Coronel was referring to the chat logs presented at the Senate inquiry on the death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, during the hazing rights of Aegis Juris Fraternity, which showed members apparently were planning to cover up the crime and planning their next actions after the tragedy.
Coronel said these included clearing the site of the hazing event of evidence and hiding frat members present in the hazing, despite Aegis promising to present suspects to the police two days later.
Coronel said MPD’s information and communications group was working to restore the hard drives of CCTV cameras around the hazing site—outside the frat library— while officers gather first-hand accounts.
“Second, we have a witness who has been helping us by providing information, including those involved in the hazing incident,” Coronel said.
For his part, Supt. Erwin Margarejo, MPD spokesperson, said they might charge several members of Aegis for obstruction of justice while Senator Francis Escudero said the lawyer alumni of the fraternity might be disbarred.
“Especially the lawyers who swore an oath, in the bar exam, and to the people that they shall not, in any manner, engage in any immoral, unlawful or dishonest conduct,” Coronel said, in a mix of English and Tagalog.
“And they should not, in any manner, contempt or abet any action that will defeat the administration of justice. This is their lawyers’ code,” he said, adding they had criminal liability for the act as well.
Several members were identified to have been at the scene when Castillo died.
Their names have been submitted to the Department of Justice investigation panel while the MPD is still trying to identify three sorority sisters seen at the site during the hazing event.
Coronel said they would follow the rules for electronic evidence and have their anti-cybercrime unit verify the chat logs and the persons identified in their conversation.
“We have to document it and verify it, and that’s why we’re waiting for the response of the internet service provider, Facebook Philippines... we have to validate it again through the different profiles of the different persons who were mentioned in those messages,” he explained.
The MPD has, in the past, exchanged with online groups calling for justice for Castillo and verified this information.