UST law dean should face probe over freshman's hazing death: lawyer

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2017 09:19 AM | Updated as of Sep 27 2017 11:33 AM

MANILA - The dean of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law, who is a member of the fraternity involved in the hazing death of Horacio "Atio" Castillo III, should also be investigated, according to a lawyer assisting the student's family.

Speaking to ANC, Atty. Lorna Kapunan said Dean Nilo Divina, who earlier claimed he has been an inactive fratman of the Aegis Jvris, was the one who recruited the 22-year-old UST student to the fraternity, according to the account of the mother.

"She did not want her child to belong to a fraternity but they were assured by the dean that there was going to be no hazing," said Kapunan, who co-founded the Inang Naulila sa Anak (INA) Foundation.

In the interview, Kapunan cast doubt on claims that Castillo was the only person undergoing hazing by fratmen.

The lawyer also said the Department of Justice should verify reports that the fratmen involved in the fatal hazing of Atio, in panic, went to Divina's house after the hazing to seek help.

Even if untrue, she said Divina, as UST law dean, should have ensured that the requirements of the Anti-Hazing Law were met and that there were at least school representatives when the initiation rites for the Aegis Jvris neophytes were conducted.

"If there were two responsible adults there I don't think the murder would happen," Kapunan said.

Divina, however, denied that Aegis Jvris members went to his house after the hazing. He said he will file charges against Kapunan.

Divina earlier said he has been inactive with Aegis Jvris since he assumed deanship. He also stressed that the UST Faculty of Civil Law does not tolerate violence among fraternities, claiming that Aegis Juris did not give them notice about the initiation rites.

Kapunan, meanwhile, said it would be a good idea to turn primary suspect John Paul Solano into a state witness. She believes Solano is telling the truth, after he named names in the hazing incident during a Senate executive session.

She hopes that the truth comes out especially they already received reports that Atio was not the lone neophyte in the initiation rites, and the 18 others were told to be silent about the hazing incident.

FORUM SHOPPING

In the interview, Kapunan also denied that she is "forum shopping" after the House justice committee junked an impeachment complaint against Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista for being insufficient in forum.

Kapunan is an adviser of Mrs. Patricia Bautista, estranged wife of the Comelec chief. Mrs. Bautista earlier said she has documents that show the poll chief had P1 billion in unexplained wealth. She said her husband allegedly received "commissions" from Divina's law firm, which counts among its clients Smartmatic, Comelec's contractor in the automated elections.

Divina has denied Mrs. Bautista's claims.

Kapunan noted the impeachment complaint against the Comelec chief was filed without Mrs. Bautista's participation and before the National Bureau of Investigation could finish its own probe on the unexplained wealth.

"Patricia was not the one who filed the impeachment complaint. It was filed notwithstanding our advice to wait for the NBI report," she said.