Hazing suspects' defense very lame - ex-senator

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2017 09:00 AM | Updated as of Nov 02 2017 09:21 AM

MANILA - A former senator who authored the Anti-Hazing Law criticized fraternity brothers who said UST law freshman Horacio "Atio" Castillo III died of cardiac arrest or multiple organ failure, not hazing.

According to former Senator Joey Lina, whether Castillo died of cardiac arrest or multiple organ failure is immaterial. He said proof that hazing occurred is enough to prosecute the suspects.

"That kind of defense is very lame. In short very, very weak. The law is clear: if there is hazing and if it is proven, and the person hazed died or suffered physical injuries, there is a penalty," he told ANC Thursday.

Arvin Balag, the leader of Aegis Jvris fraternity, and his brod, John Paul Solano, both said in their counter-affidavits that Atio may have died of a pre-existing heart disease, and not hazing.

They both pointed out that Castillo had a condition that increases the risk of heart failure. Horacio Castillo Jr., the victim's father, meanwhile refuted these claims, saying "blunt trauma" caused his son's death.

Lina believes the prosecution has enough evidence to prove hazing happened. He said hematoma on Atio's body, the paddles in the Aegis Jvirs library, and DNA samples will make for a strong case.

The former lawmaker also said the evidence corroborates the testimony of Mark Ventura, who claimed that he was present during the initiation that led to Atio's death.

"All of these taken together at this stage in time will build a strong case against the perpetrators," said Lina.