UST stresses commitment to Atio Castillo hazing case

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UST law freshman Horacio Castillo III (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — The University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Friday said it had done its part in looking into the hazing death of law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III.

"(UST) immediately created a committee to investigate and ferret out the truth observing the due process requirements of the law," it said in an official statement.

The Dominican-run Catholic university said it "closely coordinated with the Manila Police District and National Bureau of Investigation which led to the identification of the members of the fraternity and possible perpetrators of the crime."

Police suspect Castillo, a 22-year-old freshman law student, died after undergoing hazing by members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity (AJF) on September 16.

AJF is based at the UST Faculty of Civil Law whose dean, Nilo Divina, is an alumnus of the fraternity.

"Despite the limitations under the Education Act and the Data Privacy Act, the University allowed representatives of the Legal Education Board and the Commission on Human Rights to observe the proceedings of the investigation committee," the university said.

UST also slammed what it claimed as "inaccurate portrayal" of the university as indifferent to the Castillo case.

"On the first day that the news broke out, the University manifested its grief, offered prayers, and conveyed its profound sympathy to the family of Horacio. It condemned the senseless act of violence and declared a day of mourning," the statement read. "At no point did the University indicate lack of interest concerning the death of Horacio."

The MPD on Wednesday presented to the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs screengrabs of a Facebook conversation, revealing attempts by AJF members to conceal the circumstances around Castillo's death.

READ: Police: Aegis Juris attempted to 'cover up, conceal' UST law student's death

Castillo's body was brought by one of the principal suspects, John Paul Solano, to the Chinese General Hospital on September 17.

Solano, in his closed-door testimony to the Senate on September 25, said AJF President Arvin Balag told him to bring the body there instead of UST Hospital, which is much closer to the fraternity library where the hazing is believed to have taken place.

READ: Aegis Juris president urged hazing suspect to lie, Solano testimony shows

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Rex Remitio, and Digital Producers Lara Tan and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.