MANILA - During his last moments, Horacio "Atio" Castillo III was being reminded of the "purpose" he was seeking when he joined Aegis Jvris, recalled a frat man present during the hazing rites.
Speaking before a Senate inquiry into Atio's death, Marc Ventura said he kept on reminding Castillo about this purpose as the neophyte was visibly exhausted after being punched repeatedly in the arms and then paddled below the buttocks.
"'Yung kondisyon niya po, pagod -- hapo. Pero responsive siya nun. Sinasabi ko po sa kanya na kaya niya 'yung proseso nung gabi na 'yun. Lagi ko sa kanyang pinapaalala 'yung sinasabi niya sa 'kin na tuwing nag-uusap kami. Ang gusto kasi niya purpose," he said.
Ventura said he had been talking to Castillo at the fraternity library before the initiation rites began, and the neophyte kept telling him about the purpose in life he is seeking.
"Every time na mag-uusap kami constant reminder ko po sa kanya na 'yung purpose na 'yun, hindi kami ang magbibigay sa kanya. Magsisimula 'yun sa kanya," he added.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, quoting Ventura's affidavit, earlier said Aegis Jvris members repeatedly punched Castillo, hit him with a spatula, and struck him with a paddle.
"Meron silang term na ‘hangga’t hindi pumuputok’ yung kaniyang braso, tuloy-tuloy lang sila ng pagsuntok," said Aguirre, adding that Ventura has identified "many" of those who participated.
Then when Castillo's arms were already swollen, these were hit with spatula to "calm" the muscles, he said.
The last step, Ventura had claimed, was paddling. An incoming member was supposed to be hit 10 times with the paddle, but a leader or a solo newbie will receive 11 strikes.
"Nung third paddle against Atio, tinanong pa siya kung kaya pa niya. Sumagot pa ata si Atio na kaya pa niya. But in the fourth paddle, hindi na niya kaya and he collapsed already and unintelligible na yung kaniyang response; pag tinatanong siya, hindi na siya maka-respond, parang umuungol na lang siya," said Aguirre.
The frat man, who has been provisionally admitted to the witness protection program, refused to divulge specific details of his affidavit due to confidentiality, as advised by his counsel.
Ventura is now being represented by a lawyer who is also his relative. The frat man said he replaced his former lawyers, who are Aegis Jvris members, so he will be more comfortable in telling the truth.
Aguirre earlier revealed Aegis Jvris bickered over what to do with Castillo after the neophyte collapsed during initiation rites.