Castillo family wants more names included in suspect list as DOJ begins hearing Atio's case

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UST law freshman Horacio Castillo III (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — The Justice Department is hearing the criminal charges filed against those behind the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) Law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III. 

But the Castillo family wants more names included as respondents.

Atio's parents skipped attending the first preliminary investigation on their son's death to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Investigation of Atio's death now up to Manila Police District

But their lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, made it known during the hearing that they want UST officials, including Law Dean Nilo Divina, named as respondents.

 

Kapunan said, "On behalf of the complainant, Mrs. Carmina Castillo, we are under instructions to file a supplemental affidavit on her behalf against the dean of civil law school and possibly certain officials of the university."

Kapunan cited the Senate investigation on Atio's death, saying, "Based on the senate hearing investigations, the Senators who conducted the hearing themselves said that there appears to be obviously a cover-up by the Dean of the law school, by the responsible officers of the fraternity."

But Divina said in a statement, it's unfortunate that Atio's family is "being manipulated" by their lawyer to do something that's patently baseless.

The objective, he explained, should be to find justice for Atio. But he adds that's not happening in this case

He said, "It's unfortunate that Atio's family is being manipulated by their lawyer into doing something that is patently baseless.  Our objective should be to find justice for Atio and find out the truth. Instead the obvious objective is now to lay the blame on innocent people to further the lawyer's personal agenda."

Principal respondent John Paul Solano was ready to submit his sworn statement, but this did not happen due to Kapunan's manifestation.

His lawyer, Paterno Esmaquel, couldn't hide his frustration.

Esmaquel said, "But you filed your complaint last week okay. You are supposed to bring your witnesses to subscribe and you didn't bring your witnesses! We are ready with our witnesses he spent for all the witnesses."

Kapunan didn't like Esmaquel's tone and said, "I think we can hear each other very well. We're just feet apart. I have no hearing problem."

The panel of prosecutors gave the Castillo family until October 9th to submit a supplemental complaint, and for the Manila Police District to submit additional evidence.

All 18 respondents, meanwhile, have until October 24th to answer the charges against them.