UST law dean denies meeting Atio in law office days before hazing death

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2017 04:32 PM | Updated as of Nov 06 2017 05:42 PM

MANILA - The dean of the University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law on Monday denied he saw Horacio Castillo III in his law office days before the law freshman died in alleged hazing rites. 

Senator Grace Poe said Castillo had told his mother that he was in a law office in Makati City days before he died on September 17.

Footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) from the Pacific Star Building, where the Divina Law firm is located, showed a man in a blue suit jacket. Castillo's parents affirmed that it was their son that was seen in the video. 

"It looks very much like him. In that picture, you will see his blue jacket. His mom bought that jacket. He was wearing black pants and black shoes. Also, the hairstyle," said his father, Horacio Jr.

His mother, Carminia, supported her husband's statement, affirming that she bought the blue jacket for their son.

Public order committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson said while it is established that Castillo had set foot in Pacific Star, it could not yet be concluded that he was in Divina's law office.

Civil Law dean Nilo Divina, managing partner of DivinaLaw, said 16 CCTV cameras in their office would show that "he did not set foot in the Divina Law Office." 

He said he is not sure if his employees could have met with the 22-year-old elsewhere in the building, "but one thing is for sure: I did not see Atio in Pacific Star."

He added there are at least 3 law firms in the building located along Buendia Avenue in the Makati central business district.

CONNECTIONS

Frat member Marc Ventura, who was part of the fraternity a year before Castillo's entry, told lawmakers that when he was also about to be initiated into the group, he also headed to Pacific Star for an orientation by a certain "Atty. Nick, Atty. Elvis Uy, Fred Correa."

Poe said Castillo could have gone to any of the offices there, but it was a "coincidence" that the slain law freshman was in the building of Divina's firm, which has had connections with the Aegis Jvris fraternity.

She also noted that another connection that Divina's firm has with the owner of the Pacific Star building, Century Properties, is that the company's corporate secretary is a senior partner at DivinaLaw. 

"The same owner of Pacific Star, Century Properties, is also the owner of Novotel Hotel and Resort, kung saan nagkita ang mga frat members pagkatapos," she said.

"I just want to make sure that they are complying because their legal counsel is DivinaLaw," she added.

At least 21 members of the Aegis Jvris fraternity apparently agreed in a meeting in Novotel hotel in Quezon City to "cover up" Castillo's fatal hazing, the Manila Police District chief Supt. Joel Coronel said in a previous Senate hearing.

The police unit is eyeing possible obstruction of justice charges against the frat members involved.