Sunday 18 February, 2018
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Di dapat si Divina ang puntirya: Anti-hazing group wants focus on Atio’s case shifted to real killers

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Members of an anti-hazing advocacy group are worried that the death by hazing of University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III has been politicized in the Senate hearings with attention diverted away from the perpetrators of the crime.

“We believe that the priority should be focused on ensuring justice for Atio Castillo and his family, and punishing those who were directly responsible for his senseless death. There is a growing concern, however, that this key point has been sidetracked by secondary matters, thus muddling the picture and diluting the significance of this terrible event,” said Anti-Hazing Enforcement Movement (ANTHEM) Executive Director Chris Anasam in a statement.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs held a series of hearings in order to investigate the incident. These concluded late last month, with the legislators sharing their recommendations to the Supreme Court.

“After the inquiry, most – if not all – of the headlines focused on the recommendation of the Senate committee to disbar UST Law Dean Nilo Divina. A quick online search will show that majority of the stories even opened with his name, relegating the students who were actually involved in the slay as ‘the others. Divina is at best a bit-player in this story, and has been fully cleared by the Police of any wrongdoing. Why is he suddenly under more scrutiny than the goons who held the paddle and tried to engineer a cover-up?” said Anasam.

Last week, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri released a statement urging the Castillo family to bring the case to the Vatican, since the UST was a Catholic and Pontifical University. Zubiri even drew comparisons to the University’s swift action regarding its varsity basketball team, versus its supposed lethargy in this case. The Castillos responded by saying that they were indeed bringing the matter to Rome, although it was unclear what sanctions the Papal Office would mete out.

“Hazing is a barbaric and appalling issue in itself, which is the result of deeper societal concerns affecting the youth. There is no need to sensationalize it by dragging high-profile attorneys, UAAP teams, and even the Vatican into the discussion. Worse, while everyone is paying attention to the side-shows, the real offenders are slowly fading into the shadows, covered in darkness while the spotlight is pointed away from them,” said Anasam.

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