MANILA - Aegis Jvris fratman Marc Anthony Ventura described as "mild" the paddle blows received by fraternity neophyte and alleged hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died after initiation rites last September 17.
During Monday’s last preliminary investigation hearing at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the murder, hazing, perjury, robbery, and obstruction of justice complaints, Ventura was asked clarificatory questions by the investigating panel on a 6-page sworn statement he executed upon his application for admission into the department’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
The affidavit, dated October 24, 2017, was subsequently forwarded to the investigating panel to form part of the records of the case, where Ventura is among those charged.
“Tinanggap niya po (paddle hits) mahihina lang po, palo na hindi lumalapat nang maayos,” Ventura said.
To which panel chairperson Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva clarified, “Sabi mo kanina mild lang ang palo kaya wala siyang injuries (on the legs) pero dito (affidavit) may sinasabi ka na sa ikatlong palo napaluhod siya. So kung napaluhod siya, malakas pagkakapalo.”
“Hindi po malakas pero napaluhod siya,” Ventura explained.
“Sigurado ka na sa pagpapalo sa kanya mahina lang binigay sa kanyang paddle?” asked Villanueva again, to which Ventura answered in the affirmative.
Ventura also said two of his co-respondents were not present when physical pain was being inflicted on Atio during the final rites: Karl Matthew Villanueva and Zimon Padro. Same with othe Aegis Jvris fratmen Alex Bose, Kim Cyrill Roque, Dave Felix, Ged Villanueva, and Leo Lalusis, he added.
It may be recalled that in his affidavit, Ventura claimed that instead of immediately rushing Atio to a hospital when he collapsed and became unresponsive, Aegis Jvris fratmen argued whether it was the best thing to do.
Ventura, who admitted being present at Atio's “final rites” inside the fraternity library in Sampaloc, Manila, narrated that Atio fell unconscious at past 5am and was no longer responsive to stimuli, including hot candle wax droppings on his feet and chest supposedly intended to bring him back to consciousness.
Ventura named the following as those present, along with him, during the “final rites:”
Oliver John Audrey Onofre
Mhin Wei Chan
Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo
Karl Matthew Villanueva
Joshua Joriel Macabali
Axel Munro Hipe
Jose Miguel Salamat
Kim Cyrill Roque
an unidentified female companion of Alex Bose
The following were identified by Ventura as those who participated in the session which involved punching Atio’s arms for three rounds:
others he could not recall because the light was off.
The following were identified by Ventura as those who participated in hitting Atio’s fingers with a wooden spatula:
The following were identified by Ventura as those who participated in the paddle session:
a new fratman whose name he could not recall.
He also named the following as officers of the fraternity during Atio’s “service week;” all were reportedly present during the “final rites” except for Robiños:
Arvin Balag, GP
Mhin Wei Chan, Secundus Internus
Zach Abulencia, Secretary
Oliver Onofre, treasurer
Jason Robiños, auditor
Ralph Trangia, sergeant-at-arms
Joriel Macabali, PRO
Axel Hipe, MI
Leo Lalusis, Secundus Internus
Several respondents filed their respective comments on Ventura’s affidavit.
The DOJ has terminated the preliminary investigation proceedings, and has submitted the case for resolution.