Hazing suspect: Someone tried to stop us from rushing Atio to hospital

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — Aegis Juris Fraternity member Marc Ventura revealed on Monday one of those who were present at the hazing stopped them from bringing Horacio "Atio" Castillo III to the hospital.

Ventura, who remains a suspect despite his provisional admission into witness protection program, gave some details from his sworn statement during the Senate's third hearing into the hazing death of the University of Santo Tomas law student.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked Ventura: "May pumigil na dalhin si Atio sa ospital?" Ventura replied, "Meron po."

Ventura, however, refused to name who it was.

He added it took them 30 to 40 minutes to decide to bring Atio to the hospital.

"Na-rattle kami then may takot din po (We were rattled and scared)," he said.

When asked which part of the final initiation rites could have been the most painful for Atio, Ventura — who had also undergone hazing rites — said it was when fraternity members were hitting Atio's arms.

Gatchalian asked Ventura about Atio's state after his arms were hit, and Ventura answered, "Pagod, hapo, pero responsive siya (He was exhausted but he was responsive)."

During the ordeal Atio had to endure at the hands of Aegis Juris Fraternity members, Ventura said he was offering support to the neophyte by reminding him of his "purpose."

"Ang gusto niya kasi is purpose. Every time na kausap niya ako lagi lang niyang sinasabi was 'purpose.' Parang hinahanap niya ang purpose niya sa buhay niya," Ventura said.

Ventura said after the punching, Atio was hit by paddles by four people, but he refused to name who did it, and insisted he did not participate in the hitting.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier revealed Atio fully lost consciousness on the fifth strike of the paddle.

"Pag-upo niya, hindi na siya ganun ka-responsive," he said. (When he sat him down, he was not that responsive anymore.)

Aguirre also quoted Ventura who said Atio was tortured by more than 10 fraternity members who tried to wake him up using candle drippings.

Aguirre said Ventura earlier told the Department of Justice (DOJ) Atio was placed on a pickup truck, but then he was unloaded when John Paul Solano arrived so he could revive him.

After Solano's unsuccessful attempt, he told the frat members to bring Atio to a hospital.

Atio died on September 17.

Ventura still a suspect

The DOJ acting prosecutor general Jorge Catalan Jr. during the Senate hearing said Ventura is still among the 42 respondents in the case, along with other members, officials, and alumni of the fraternity.

Ventura provided his sworn affidavit to the DOJ on October 24. On the same day, he was provisionally admitted into the department's witness protection program.

Catalan said Ventura's admission will depend if he does not appear to be the most guilty in the case.

Senator Migz Zubiri commended Ventura for choosing to side with the law instead of covering up for his fellow frat men.

"I salute you for your courage. Do not consider yourself a snitch. The truth shall set you free. This moment has defined you," Zubiri said.

Ventura stands by his confession.

"I'm not an angel. I'm not a saint. But I am here to tell the truth. Only a few good men can tell the truth and nothing but the truth," he said.