Frat violence victim Dennis Venturina's dad says unaware of release of son's killers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 07:46 PM

MANILA - The father of Dennis Venturina, a victim of a fraternity-linked slay in 1994, revealed he was not informed that his son's killers were released from prison early under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

Venturina's father Edgar said he was surprised after learning that his son's killers were out of prison under the law that grants early release to convicts on account of good conduct. The 5 convicted killers were supposed to serve a sentence of reclusion perpetua or 40 years in prison. 

"Nagulat na lang ako eh (I was surprised)," Edgar told DZMM radio Wednesday. 

Venturina was a law student at the University of the Philippines (UP) killed by rival fratmen on Dec. 8, 1994. A member of Sigma Rho, he was having a meal with his fratmates when they were attacked by members of rival Scintilla Juris with metal pipes and baseball bats.

The law scholar died 2 days after the attack after sustaining serious head injuries. Five Scintilla Juris members, namely Danilo Feliciano Jr., Julius Victor Medalla, Christopher Soliva, Warren Zingapan, and Robert Michael Beltran Avir were convicted of murder after 6 years of trial. 

The Supreme Court in 2014 upheld the suspects' murder conviction after the Court of Appeals (CA) lowered the charges to serious physical injuries, saying the CA erred in its decision.

The father said he only learned that his son's killers were released when he had someone check up on them and see if they were being given preferential treatment.

"Pinatse-check lang talaga kung nabibigyan [sila] ng VIP treatment eh. Ayun pala e, nakawala na," Edgar said.

(We were checking if they were being given VIP treatment. Turns out they were already out.)

He said, however, he would not follow up on the whereabouts of his son's killers.

"Matanda na. Gusto ko na malagay sa tahimik," he said.

(I'm old. I want to be at peace.)

Authorities have released nearly 2,000 heinous crime convicts early because of the GCTA, igniting public uproar. Since then, the law has been under public and official scrutiny.

- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News