MANILA - Members of the Aegis Jvris fraternity linked to the death of law freshman Horacio "Atio" Castillo III on Tuesday pleaded not guilty and filed a petition for bail.
Accused Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Hipe, Oliver John Onofre, Joshua Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Rodrigo, Marcelino Bagtang sought bail even though violation of the Anti-Hazing Law is non-bailable.
Arraignment and pre-trial at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 lasted almost 3 hours as the accused denied their involvement in the crime.
Judge Marivic Balisi Umali is set to decide on the not guilty plea on August 14.
Castillo's mother, Carminia, said she did not feel any pity towards the fraternity members.
The 22-year-old law freshman died of heart attack after sustaining "massive injuries" from the beating he received during initiation rites of the Aegis Jvris fraternity of University of Sto. Tomas.
His death put the spotlight on fraternities and their culture of violent initiation, prompting lawmakers to amend the existing law. President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a measure that bans hazing in all forms earlier this month.
- report from Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News