MANILA - Parents of hazing victim Horacio "Atio" Castillo III were shocked to learn that Aegis Jvris fraternity members had planned a cover-up of their son's death, as reflected in an online conversation brought up at a Senate hearing Wednesday.
Castillo's father Horacio Jr. said the family is now in talks with their legal counsel on the possibility of filing charges against Aegis Jvris members who joined the chat, which is now being authenticated by the Philippine National Police anti-cybercrime division.
“Well nagulat kami about the chat. There was indeed an intention to cover up. What's striking is a lot of lawyers are involved in this, so conduct unbecoming of them," said the elder Castillo after the Senate hearing.
His wife Carminia was in tears as Sen. Joel Villanueva read exchanges among the Aegis Jvris fraternity members.
"May kaya 'yang family na 'yan. Bukas makakakuha na sila ng search warrant sa frat [library]. Sana malinis na, matanggal na ang paddle doon," said one Atty. Alston Kevin Anarna in the chat.
Police have retrieved pieces of evidence at the Aegis Jvris library, including a paddle suspected to have been used in initiation rites that left Castillo dead.
Laboratory testing showed that blood stains found on the paddle and a t-shirt retrieved at the library were "consistent with having come" from Castillo.
Meanwhile, the Castillo family said they feel sad for the law students being linked to the hazing incident. Most of those tagged in the slay invoked their right against self-incrimination when asked questions during Wednesday's hearing.
"Siyempre naaawa ka rin sa kanila kasi their lives are over. Wala na. You think magiging lawyers pa sila? Hindi na. Tapos na ang buhay nila. Do you think you will hire them as lawyers in the future knowing kung ano 'yung ginawa nila?" said Horacio Jr.
The Castillo family is hoping that University of Santo Tomas Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, also an Aegis Jvris member, will be able to help them attain justice. He stressed that they will never enter into any settlement on the case.
"You cannot buy a life. That's my son," he said.
Castillo, a UST law freshman, was declared dead upon arrival at the Chinese General Hospital on the morning of Sept. 17, hours after he took part in the fraternity's welcoming rites and suffered severe injuries. His parents learned of his passing before dawn the next day.
--report from Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News