MANILA, Philippines - All talk, no arrest.
Over a month after the death of student Guillo Cesar Servando, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has yet to order the arrest of those involved in the brutal hazing.
This developed after three neophytes of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity who survived the initiation rites went to the DOJ yesterday to provide details on how Servando was beaten to death on June 28.
The three students – John Paul Raval, Lawrence Anthony Agustin and a minor – stood as witnesses for the complainant, Servando’s father Aurelio.
They were, however, given until the next hearing on Aug. 7 to decide if they also would like to stand as victims in the case.
The DOJ earlier said Servando’s death is a “priority” even as no immediate arrests were made against the fraternity members involved in the hazing. Four of those involved in the brutal beating of Servando, a student of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, have already fled abroad.
The DOJ explained the arrests are not expected until probable cause is established and charges are filed in court, which would then issue the arrest warrant.
The DOJ earlier issued a lookout bulletin order for the Bureau of Immigration to monitor possible flight of the respondents.
The 20 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 Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law, which provides for a penalty of life imprisonment for the crime of 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, an alias Bea and another unidentified suspect.
Navoa, Calupas, Tatlonghari and Pablico have already left the country, according to the BI.
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.
Only four of them attended the first hearing yesterday: Almazan, Solomon, Pajarito and Peñano.
Almazan and Solomon are members of the fraternity while Pajarito is the caretaker of the house where the rites took place. They have earlier cooperated with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and detailed their participation in the incident.
They also affirmed their respective affidavits in yesterday’s hearing.
Peñano, on the other hand, denied the charges, saying through his lawyer Charles Morgado that he did not take part in the hazing.