SC to probe lawyers linked to student hazing death

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UST law freshman Horacio Castillo III (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The Supreme Court (SC) has launched an investigation on lawyers linked to the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo over a possible disbarment case.

In a notice, the SC said the court decided last February 6 to treat a letter from Senator Panfilo Lacson as a complaint against the lawyers connected with the Aegis Juris fraternity, including UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean, Nilo Divina.

"Acting on the letter dated January 31, 2018 of Senator Panfilo M. Lacson... the court resolved to treat the aforesaid letter as a complaint against the following lawyers," the notice said.

Lacson's letter contained documents in support of disciplinary and disbarment proceedings against the Aegis Juris members, as recommended by the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Justice and Human Rights.

The complaint will be docketed as a regular administrative case, the SC said.

The court listed the following lawyers named in the letter. They are required to comment on the complaint within ten days from the notice:

  • Marvi Abo
  • Alston Kevin Anarma
  • Edzel Bert Canlas
  • Cecilio Jimeno
  • Ferdinand Rogelio
  • Eric Fuentes
  • Cesar Ocampo Ona
  • Gaile Dante Caraan
  • Gem Dimaculangan
  • Alfonso Verzosa
  • Henry Pablo, Jr.
  • Jet VIllaroman
  • Cesar Dela Fuente
  • Niño Kjell Servañez
  • Manuel Angelo Ventura III
  • Michael Vito
  • Arthur Capili
  • Irvin Joseph Fabella
  • Edwin Uy
  • Allan Christopher Agati
  • Dean Nilo T. Divina

The move comes after the Senate committees in a report concluded Castillo died at the hands of the fraternity. After months of hearings, the committees recommended the lawyers' disbarment for failing to report Castillo's death despite being aware of it.

The Senate panels said depriving the lawyers of practicing law will set an example and may deter further hazing incidents.

UST law dean Divina, meanwhile, has denied links to the hazing. He said in an earlier statement, he had no knowledge and did not take part in the activity.

READ: Senate panels conclude Atio died of hazing, seek disbarment of UST law dean

Castillo, who had last told his parents he would attend a "welcoming party" of the fraternity, was found dead on September 18, 2017.

His death prompted calls for tighter anti-hazing laws.

As of Monday, both Senate and the House of Representatives have approved bills completely banning hazing as a requirement for admission into a fraternity, sorority, or organization.