Atio collapsed on 4th paddle strike, lost consciousness on 5th – state witness

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

UST law freshman Horacio Castillo III (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — Hazing victim Horacio "Atio" Castillo III lost consciousness when he was hit by a paddle for the fifth time during the initiation rites, a suspect told the Department of Justice.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday said hazing suspect and Aegis Juris Fraternity member Marc Ventura willingly went to the department to receive protection as he revealed details of what happened the day the UST freshman law student was killed.

Aguirre said Ventura was inside the Aegis Juris fraternity library during the hazing, which started at 1 a.m. of September 17.

Aguirre quoted Ventura who said Atio was tortured by more than 10 fraternity members who punched the 22-year-old, then hit him with meter-long paddles multiple times, and woke him from unconsciousness with candle drippings in a span of up to four hours.

"Merong term na 'hanggat hindi pumuputok kaniyang braso, tuloy-tuloy lang sila sa suntok,'" Aguirre said, referring to the fraternity's hazing rites.

Outside the fraternity library, six fraternity members and one woman were drinking, blasting loud videoke music to muffle any sounds from what was going on inside, the Justice Secretary recounted Ventura as saying.

Ventura is one of among 17 respondents facing charges for murder, robbery, and violation of Anti-Hazing Law over the law student's death. His death has sparked outrage among Filipinos and placed into doubt the effectivity of an existing law that prohibits a violent initiation rite known as "hazing."

Ventura is placed under the Justice Department's witness protection program. Aguirre said he will be named a state witness.


The Justice Department's presentation of the witness comes a day after the suspects presented their counteraffidavit stating that Atio had died from a pre-existing condition.

Related: Solano: Atio died due to pre-existing heart disease, not hazing

Atio collapsed after 4th paddle hit

When Atio's arm muscles bulged, the fraternity members tapped a spatula on his arms to relax the neophyte's muscles, he added.

Aguirre said Atio was supposed to receive 11 hits with the paddle — one for each of the 11 Aegis Juris officers and members present during the hazing rites.

Ventura relayed to the Justice Department that the third time the paddle struck, Atio was asked if he could still withstand the punishment, to which he replied "Yes."

When the paddle hit Atio a fourth time, Atio collapsed, Aguirre said.

"Hindi na niya kaya and he collapsed already. Unintelligible na ang kaniyang response. Umuungol na lang siya," he said.

Aguirre said the members gave Atio a "respite from the paddling," but when he regained consciousness, they struck him with the paddle for the fifth time. That was when he fully lost consciousness.

Aguirre said the frat members then dripped candle over his body to stir him.

Related: Paddles found in Aegis Juris fraternity library

DOJ said Ventura expressed he is willing to face the consequence of his revelations.

Ventura: Solano not involved in initiation

Aguirre said Ventura named Axel Hipe as "Master Initiator 1."

He also said John Paul Solano, one of the initial suspects, was not in the frat library during the hazing rites. Solano, who had a background in medicine, was called on when Atio lost consciousness.

Ventura said Atio was loaded into a pickup but then unloaded when Solano arrived so he could revive him. After his unsuccessful attempt, Solano told the frat members to bring Atio to a hospital, Aguirre said.

Senators on Wednesday criticized suspects in the hazing case.

Related: Senators slam suspects' claim on Atio's heart condition

CNN Philippines correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.