UST Alumni groups: There was no cover-up in law student's hazing case

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The alumni groups said the university and the Faculty of Civil Law were not complicit or negligent in the death of Horacio Castillo III.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — Alumni groups from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) said on Saturday that there was no cover up in the death of hazing victim Horacio "Atio" Castillo III.

"We…denounce any insinuation that UST and the Faculty of Civil Law were involved or in any way complicit or negligent in the senseless death of Mr. Castillo," said the UST Alumni Association, Inc. and the UST Law Alumni Foundation, Inc. in a statement.

 

"There was no attempt at all to cover up the case nor was there any protection or refuge given to anyone involved," it added.

Castillo, a 22-year-old UST law freshman was reportedly found on September 17 morning in Tondo, Manila after he took part in hazing rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

Castillo was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital later that day, with the initial autopsy report saying he succumbed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or thickening of the heart muscle.

The alumni groups' statement said the university is also conducting its own probe on Castillo's death.

"The university did in fact create a commission to investigate the case on its own without the participation of any member of the law faculty. We want the truth to come out, nothing more, nothing less," the statement read.

They also condemned violence in any form, saying "It is against our core beliefs. It is unchirstian. It is evil."

The statement added the the groups support the move of Congress to revisit the anti-hazing law "in order to prevent the occurrence of similar cases in the future."

UST Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina, a member of the fraternity, earlier said he had filed a leave of absence when he assumed deanship.

Eighteen people have been charged for Castillo's death. The Justice Department began hearing criminal charges filed against them on October 4, but the Castillo family has said it wants more names included as respondents.

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

According to a police report, Castillo had hematoma or bruises on both upper arms. His body bore several marks of candle wax drips all over his body.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre also said United States authorities are ready to help deport Ralph Trangia, one of the principal suspects in Castillo's case.