MANILA - No arrests have been made in the death of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde student Guillo Servando during initiation rites of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity last June 28, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) said yesterday it is prioritizing the case.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, chief of the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service, said he expects the special panel of prosecutors to “promptly” conduct the preliminary investigation on the charges of violation of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law filed by Servando’s father, Aurelio, last July 11.
“This is a special case, which means it is being prioritized,” he told The STAR.
'No arrests can be made yet'
Assistant State Prosecutor Stewart Allan Mariano, who chairs the investigating panel, said no arrests can be made until the DOJ finds probable cause in the charges and files the case in court, which would then issue arrest warrants.
The panel has issued subpoenas – only three days after the filing of the complaint – requiring the respondents to appear before the DOJ and answer the charges in hearings set on July 31 and Aug. 7, he said.
“We set two dates so that they will have no excuse of not attending. If they fail to attend on those two dates, then we will consider that waiver of their right to answer the charges,” Mariano said in an interview.
Flying the coop
The DOJ earlier issued a lookout bulletin order for the Bureau of Immigration to monitor the flight of the respondents, some of whom have reportedly left the country.
The respondents, led by Cody Errol Morales, reported head of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity-De La Salle chapter, were slapped with charges of violation of Section 4 of RA 8049, which provides the penalty of life imprisonment for death by hazing.
The other respondents are Daniel Paul Bautista, Esmerson Calupas, Jemar Pajarito, Kurt Michael Almazan, Luis Solomon Arevalo, Carl Francis Loresca, Hans Killian Tatlonghari, Eleazar Pablico III, John Kevin Navoa, Vic Angelo Dy, Mark Andrew Ramos, Steven Jorge Peñano, Mike Castañeda, Tessa Dayanghirang, Alyssa Valbuena, Justice Francis Reyes, an alias Kiko, and alias Bea and another unidentified suspect.
Morales and Bautista are the officers of the fraternity chapter who acted as the medics and tried to revive Servando after the rites, according to the DOJ.
Pajarito, on the other hand, is the caretaker of the house in Barangay Palanan in Makati City where the initiation rites happened.
Navoa, Calupas, Tatlonghari and Pablico have left the country, according to the Bureau of Immigration.
Most of the male respondents are members of the fraternity while some of the female respondents are reportedly their girlfriends who also witnessed the incident.
The complaint filed by the victim’s father was jointly endorsed by the National Bureau of Investigation and Makati City police after parallel probes on the incident.
Probers submitted to the DOJ as evidence the testimonies of Servando’s three fellow recruits who survived the initiation rites as well as statements of two members of the fraternity who cooperated with authorities and were placed under provisional coverage of the witness protection program. Their names were withheld for security reasons.