MANILA - Hazing victim Horacio "Atio" Castillo III was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City Wednesday afternoon as his family cried for justice.
Castillo's family, friends, and his golden retriever Lega attended the funeral mass and burial clad in white shirts that decried the untimely death of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman, a 22-year-old who was described as a "humble kid with big dreams."
Castillo's dream of becoming a lawyer ended more than a week ago in initiation rites at the Aegis Jvris fraternity, where he had hoped to find a brotherhood.
"Atio," as he was fondly called by family and close friends, had told his parents that he would be attending the fraternity's welcoming rites on Sept. 16. He never made it back home.
Severely battered, Castillo had a heart attack after sustaining "massive injuries" in the hands of fraternity members. He was rushed to the hospital Sunday morning but was already lifeless. His parents learned of his passing before dawn the next day.
"Atio was brutally murdered. Our son is a perfect son! We will miss you terribly. But we will be OK. We will fight for justice," Atio's father, Horacio Jr., said in a speech delivered after the funeral mass.
About 250 butterflies and balloons were released as Castillo was laid to rest.
In saying their final goodbye, Castillo's family and friends kept on reliving his life through stories about how he had survived a fire when he was just 10-years old, and how he eventually graduated with a degree in Political Science in UST.
Bea Garcia, one of his childhood friends, recalled how Castillo was very vocal about his dream of becoming a lawyer back when they were just kids.
Ironically, it was in law school where he met his end.
While distraught and grieving, Castillo's family thanked the public for their continued support in seeking justice for the slain law student.
"Please continue praying for us. Thank you for the love and support. Maraming maraming salamat po!," Castillo's father said.
At a Senate hearing on Monday, John Paul Solano, the fratman who had tried to resuscitate "half-dead" Castillo inside the Aegis Jvris office in Manila and later rushed him to the hospital, tagged 6 other fraternity members in the hazing death.
The Senate has yet to call another hearing to probe Castillo's untimely demise.
Solano was released Wednesday afternoon, just as Castillo was being laid to rest.