Mom rejects temporary liberty for suspects in Atio Castillo hazing due to pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 07:35 AM | Updated as of Apr 22 2020 12:27 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) -- The 10 members of Aegis Juris Fraternity accused of hazing to death University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in Sept. 2017 should not be given temporary release due to the coronavirus outbreak, Castillo's mother said Wednesday.

This after Mhin Wei Chan, one of the accused, already filed a petition to be temporarily released due to the pandemic.

"Para sa'kin ho, hindi dapat sila mabigyan ng ganitong privilege po na temporary release sa kadahilanang mayroong sakit na COVID-19," Carminia Castillo told DZMM.

"Naisip ba nila 'yong hustisya para sa'min, o sa iba pang kamukha namin na biktima na mayroon ding mga motion na nakahanda galing sa mga akusado?" she added.

Castillo said they are still waiting for the other 9 petitions before they give their response.

The 10 accused are facing a hazing charge under the Anti-hazing Law, which carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison if the hazing resulted to death.

AKO Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin, one of the principal authors of the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018, said the crime is a non-bailable offense.

Garbin, vice-chair of the House Committee on Justice, added that the panel's recommendation to temporarily release prisoners to decongest jails during the pandemic was meant to benefit low-level offenders and sick and elderly prisoners.

“I also doubt if Mhin Wei Chan and the other accused can qualify as indigents. They are flight risks and with the means to hide or flee," he said in a statement.

"I advise Mhin Wei Chan and all his co-accused to wash their hands with soap and water regularly, take a bath regularly and take good care of their overall hygiene inside the Manila City Jail."

Castillo, a law freshman, was hit repeatedly, subjected to physical exercises, was made to sing and dance, drink raw egg yolk, take off his underwear and crawl during the initiation rites on Sept. 17, 2017 in the fraternity’s library in Manila.

Castillo, who was the sole applicant at that time, was hit by the paddle 5 times before he fell to the ground unconscious.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali earlier junked the petition for bail filed by Arvin Balag, head of the fraternity at the time, and 9 others implicated in the crime, finding that “the evidence of guilt of each of the accused [is] strong.”

-- With reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News