MANILA - The embattled Aegis Jvris fraternity earlier pledged to prevent fraternity violence and committed to uphold the Anti-Hazing Law.
A copy of its affidavit of undertaking expressing this vow has surfaced more than a month after the death of neophyte Horacio Castillo III in its initiation rites.
The document was submitted as part of the defense of University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, a fraternity member on leave and among several charged for the law freshman's death on Sept. 17.
The fraternity filed the affidavit as part of its application as a recognized fraternity or school organization at the UST. It was not accredited for school year 2017-2018.
In the document titled "Commitment to Anti-Hazing Law," Aegis Jvris vowed to abide by the measure preventing violence in initiation rites and other fraternity activities.
"The Aegis Jvris Fraternity hereby declares its commitment to the Anti-Hazing Law and swears not to violate its provisions. The fraternity declares that it will live up to the objective that it has personally set, to ensure that violence shall not be used not just in the recruitment of its members but in all aspects of its conduct as an organization established in the University of Santo Tomas,” it read.
In his counter-affidavit, Divina said hazing has been “absolutely prohibited” at the UST since the 2001 death of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet due to violent initiation rites.
Because of this, the school enforced the “more stringent” requirement for student organizations seeking annual accreditation to execute an undertaking.
Divina also said he has "absolutely prohibited the recruitment of freshmen in any organization."
The death of UST ROTC cadet Mark Welson Chua in 2001 helped prompt the passage of Republic Act (RA) 9163, also known as the National Service Training Program Law, which removed ROTC as a precondition for a male college student to graduate.
Several Aegis Jvris members, including Divina, now face charges of murder, robbery, violation of the Anti-Hazing Law, and obstruction of justice before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with Castillo’s death.
Aegis Jvris member Marc Anthony Ventura, self-confessed participant in the Sept. 17 “final rites” where Castillo died, has been admitted to the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) after detailing the physical ordeal the neophyte went through in the hands of fraternity members.