MANILA - An investigating panel of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to admit the sworn statement of Aegis Jvris fraternity member Marc Anthony Ventura in connection with the fatal hazing of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in September last year.
Ventura is expected to reaffirm his affidavit before DOJ investigating panel members Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva and Associate Prosecution Attorneys II Wendel Bendoval and Honey Rose Delgado at a hearing set at 2 p.m. Friday.
Only then shall the affidavit be considered part of the records of the case.
Ventura is still considered one of the close to 40 respondents in the complaints, which include murder, violation of the Anti-Hazing Law, robbery, obstruction of justice, and perjury.
He executed his sworn affidavit upon his application to the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) at the height of the preliminary investigation into the case.
Upon receipt of Ventura’s affidavit, the other respondents will be given an opportunity to respond.
A University of Santo Tomas student, 22-year-old Castillo was declared dead upon arrival at the Chinese General Hospital on Sept. 17, 2017 after allegedly going through fatal hazing rites in the hands of Aegis Jvris fraternity members.
His death put the spotlight anew on fraternities and their culture of hazing, prompting a Senate inquiry.
The DOJ panel had earlier terminated the preliminary investigation but decided to reopen it upon the delayed receipt of Ventura’s statement.