MANILA - Some members of the University of Sto. Tomas community demanded justice Monday for law student Horacio Castillo III, who was killed in a suspected fraternity hazing.
The 22-year-old student told his parents Saturday that he would attend the Juris Aegis fraternity's welcoming rites at the UST campus, his father Horacio Castillo Jr. told ABS-CBN News.
The freshman law student never made it home. A resident found his body dumped in a street in Balut, Tondo on the wee hours of Sunday. He was rushed to the Chinese General Hospital, but was already lifeless when he reached the hospital.
His family found him there after receiving a tip from an anonymous text message, his father said.
An autopsy test confirmed Castillo died of a heart attack due to hazing injuries.
Hours after the news broke, the hashtag #JusticeForHoracio gained traction on Facebook and was the third trending topic on Twitter, with some students venting anger on the student's death.
“It is much harder to accept his death because future lawyers are involved,” Julius Romel Fernandez, Castillo's fellow member at the UST Student's Democratic Party (SDP), wrote on Facebook.
“The future of many other students, the future of law and justice, the future of this country are at risk when nobody, especially to those in the legal circles indebted to their own organizations, is brave and principled enough to burn and kill the roots of this barbarity. And you dare call yourselves Tomasino lawyers."
Fernandez also lambasted the fraternity's members for supposedly deactivating their social media accounts.
Clar Nombres, another SDP member, meanwhile accused Aegis Juris of "taking advantage" of the slain law student, whom she said was suffering from depression.
"He was battling depression. He needed a friend to feel he belonged. That doesn't give you the right to take advantage of him," Nombres said.
“Wag niyong sasabihin sa akin na he made a choice in joining a frat. You placed him in a bag and left him on a street,”
Student Prince Colobong also expressed regret that failed to stop Castillo from joining the fraternity.
“I wish I had known. Maybe I could've stopped you from joining. Maybe I could've changed your mind. It's been a while since I last saw you pero ganito na yung huli kong pag kita sayo, you're a pain in the ass sometimes, but nevertheless a true friend,” Castillo said in a Facebook post.
University officials and UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, a member of Juris Aegis, have yet to comment on the incident.
A candle lighting ceremony for Castillo will be held at the UST Plaza Mayor at 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to campus publication Varsitarian.