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UST law dean calls charges over Atio Castillo hazing death ‘baseless’

MANILA, Oct 10 (Mabuhay) — University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina on Tuesday shrugged off his inclusion in the criminal complaint pending before the Department of Justice in connection with the hazing death of Horacio Castillo III.

“I am sure it is baseless since I have not breached any law and have always discharged my functions as Dean with utmost diligence,” Divina said.

Divina however declined to comment in detail, saying he has yet to read the supplemental complaint filed by Castillo’s parents, Horacio II and Carminia, on Monday.

The UST law dean is facing charges for murder, perjury, violation of the Anti-Hazing Law (Republic Act 8049) and obstruction of justice.

In their supplemental complaint, the Castillos said Divina admitted during the Senate inquiry on September 25 that he was aware about Castillo’s hazing and injuries in the hands of members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity even before the freshman law student’s parents were informed.

The dean also allegedly did not act on the information as regards the hazing and Castillo’s fatal injuries.

“It is also worth noting that respondent school administrators [Divina and UST Faculty of Civil Law secretary Arthur Capili] are complicit in the cover-up of the hazing and murder of our son,” the complaint stated.

“Respondent Capili categorically stated [during the Senate hearing] that he already knew that a UST student died on Sunday, September 17, 2017, due to hazing. The same statement was made by respondent Divina. However, it should be stressed that our son was only positively identified by us and Atio’s uncle, Dr. Gerardo Castillo, during the early hours of September 18, 2017 around 3 or 4 in the morning. Until then, Atio was tagged as an unidentified body,” it added.

The Castillos said Divina also failed to ensure compliance of the fraternity on the notice requirement regarding any hazing or initiation rites under Section 2 of RA 8049.

“Our lawyers informed us that considering that it was indubitably shown that respondent Divina, knew of the hazing activities of his Aegis Juris breathren, the least that respondent Divina could have done was to assign at least two school representatives to be present at the initiation as required under Section 3 of the Anti-Hazing Law, to prevent the disastrous consequence that has befallen our son, Atio, and has claimed his life,” the complaint stated.

Divina had previously said UST could not be held liable for Castillo’s death, claiming the university maintained a “very strict” anti-hazing policy.

He also said that the incident happened outside the school premises, and the Aegis Juris fraternity, which conducted the deadly hazing rites for Castillo on September 17, was not an accredited school organization.

Divina’s co-respondents in the supplemental complaint include some Aegis Juris members and the board of trustees of the Aegis Juris Foundation Inc. (MNS)

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