DOJ to begin probe on death of UST law student Atio Castillo

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UST law freshman Horacio Castillo III (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — The Justice Department will begin today, October 4, its preliminary investigation on the death of hazing victim, UST law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo.

The probe will begin at 2 p.m. It comes roughly two weeks after the death of Castillo, who authorities believe died from hazing during initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

Justice officials will conduct a preliminary investigation to see if there is sufficient ground to believe a crime has been committed. They will also determine if there is probable cause that those accused are guilty and should be held for trial.

Eight officers and seven members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity have been charged in connection with Castillo's death. They are facing criminal charges of murder, robbery, and the violation of the anti-hazing law.

Antonio Trangia, father of fraternity Sergeant at Arms Ralph Trangia, is also facing the same charges. Antonio is the owner of the car that brought Castillo's body to the Chinese General Hospital.

His son, Ralph fled to the United States days after Castillo's death. Ralph's mother, Rosemarie faces obstruction of justice charge for accompanying him overseas.

So far, only three of those accused have appeared before authorities. These are fraternity members John Paul Solano, Aeron Salientes, and Jason Robiños.

John Paul Solano, the supposed bystander who found and brought Castillo to the hospital surrendered on September 22, after authorities found out he is a member of the fraternity. He was briefly detained at the Manila Police District but has since been released.

READ: Police release suspect in hazing victim's death

Two other suspects, Aeron Salientes and Jason Robiños, have also faced the National Bureau of Investigation and the Manila Police District, respectively.

All three have maintained their innocence, and denied they were involved in the planning or actual hazing of Castillo

Should probable cause be found during the preliminary investigation, prosecutors will file an information or formal criminal charge before the court. This will initiate the trial and issuance of warrants of arrest against those accused.

Castillo, who was found dead at the morgue by his family September 18, was buried last week on September 27. His death has spurred calls for stricter anti-hazing measures in the country.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this report.