Sunday 18 February, 2018
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Damay kay Divina! Find out the Aegis Juris abogados whom senators want disbarred

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The Senate has recommended disbarment proceedings 19 against members and officials of Aegis Juris Fraternity (AJF), including University of Santo Tomas (UST) Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and UST Faculty of Civil Law Secretary Arthur Capili.

Aside drom Divina and Capili, other abogados the senators want to punish for their conspiracy of silence are:

1) Mavi Abo

2) Alston Kevin Anarna

3) Edzel Bert Canlas

4) Cecilio Jimeno

5) Ferdinand Rogelio

6) Eric Fuentes

7) Cesar Ocampo Ona

8) Gaile Dante Acuzar Caraan

9) Henry Pablo Jr.

10) Jet dela Pena Villaroman

11) Cesar dela Fuente

12) Nino Kjell Servanez

13) Manuel Angelo Ventura III

14) Michael Vito

15) Irvin Joseph Fabella

16) Edwin Uy

17) Alan Christopher Agati

The joint investigating Senate committees which handled the probe on the fatal hazing of freshman law student Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo III, in its report filed Tuesday, also called for a perpetual ban on Aegis Juris.

“The culture of violence must be eradicated in every educational institution. With that, UST owes it to the late Horacio Tomas Castillo III and his grieving family to be the first to initiate,” the 46-page report of the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs and justice and human rights said.

“Based on the facts established by this committee, it is glaring that the Aegis Juris Fraternity has the notoriety for senseless abuse, harassment and pretentious call of courage. What they lacked in fundamental principles and nobly cause, they made up for nauseating and vicious membership rites,” the report said.

Aside from the disbarment recommendation, Senate probers also pressed for further investigation by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and also called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a thorough verification of the testimony of one of the principal suspects turned witness, Marc Anthony Ventura before admitting him to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

The DOJ has likewise been asked to file criminal charges for obstruction of justice for the cover-up by the resident and alumni members of the fraternity privy to Castillo’s death, the report said.

As to the case of death of Castillo, the injuries sustained by Castillo tended to support the allegation of his parents that he died due to hazing, the report said.

“Based on the findings of the PNP, Castillo died as a result of hazing comprised of the collective acts of violence performed in his person by the members of the AJF present,” the report said.

The committees also took note of the corroborating statements of the three fraternity members who testified before them, saying that these were sufficient enough to show that the fraternity repeatedly violated and wantonly disregarded the Anti-Hazing Law.

The committee noted that these admissions were made by members who have nothing more to lose considering that they are all presently accused of the murder of Castillo.

“Although we recognize the number of disbarment cases pending before the Supreme Court, it is humbly requested that the issue at hand be given preference and be dealt with as soon as possible considering that another life was lost because of the barbaric practices of the fraternity,” they said.

Senate probers also recommended the broadening of the scope of prohibition on hazing, acts, on prima facie evidence of participation in hazing activities, imposition of imprisonment and monetary fine to those who will obstruct the investigation conducted by the authorities among many others.

UST was also not spared from being admonished by the Senate committees noting how it failed to take proactive measures in response to the information readily available to them.

“It may be acceptable to give the university leeway to conduct an investigation on the Castillo case but they are not excused from their laxity or failure to make an outright decision as to perpetually ban AJF considering that there had been admissions on record, during the Senate hearings, that the fraternity subscribes to hazing as part of their initiation rites,” the report said.

“May the university be reminded that the responsibility given to an academic institution for the welfare of its students has been characterized by law and judicial doctrine as a form of special parental authority and responsibility. This responsibility has been amplified by the enactment of the Anti-Hazing Law, in that the failure of school authorities to take any action to prevent the offenses as provided by the law exposes them to criminal liability as accomplices in the criminal acts. Thus, the institution and its officers cannot stand idly by in the face of patently criminal acts committed within their sphere of responsibility. They bear the commensurate duty to ensure that the crimes covered by the Anti-Hazing Law are not committed,” it added.

Aside from Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon, chair of the public order and justice committees respectively, Senators Gregorio Honasan, Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Antonio Trillanes IV, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Vicente Sotto III and Ralph Recto also signed the report.

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