MANILA- The University of Santo Tomas (UST) blasted on Friday the "inaccurate portrayal" that it was indifferent to the death of its student, Horacio "Atio" Castillo III, who succumbed to a heart attack due to "massive injuries" he sustained in initiation rites of the Aegis Jvris fraternity last month.
In a statement, the university said that contrary to allegations of indifference, it had condemned the "senseless" act of violence against Castillo and declared a day of mourning for the slain student.
"On the contrary, on the first day that the news broke out, the University manifested its grief, offered prayers, and conveyed its profound sympathy to the family of Horacio," the statement read.
Castillo, a 22-year-old UST law freshman, told his parents that he would be attending initiation rites of the Aegis Jvris fraternity last Sept. 16 but never made it home.
He was rushed to the Chinese General Hospital early morning of Sept. 17 but was declared dead upon arrival.
His death has again put the spotlight on fraternities and their culture of hazing, prompting a Senate inquiry.
UST said that upon receiving news of Castillo's death, it immediately created a committee to investigate the incident.
"It (UST) closely coordinated with the Manila Police District and National Bureau of Investigation which led to the identification of the members of the fraternity and possible perpetrators of the crime," the statement read.
"At no point did the University indicate lack of interest concerning the death of Horacio. We call on everyone to pray and work together to achieve justice for Horacio and for truth to prevail," it said.
Several Aegis Jvris fraternity members are facing charges of murder, violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 8049 (Anti-Hazing Law), perjury, robbery, and obstruction of justice for Castillo's death.
Also charged were UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, an Aegis Jvris member, and trustees of the fraternity. --report from Mike Delizo, ABS-CBN News