Lawyers of fratmen cross swords on Ventura’s qualification as state witness

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Aegis Juris Fraternity member Marc Anthony Ventura at the Department of Justice in Manila on October 25. PHOTO BY J.V. ARCENA, NEWS5)

MANILA – A heated exchange took place between lawyers of two fraternity brothers Monday during the preliminary hearing of the charges filed against over a dozen Aegis Juris members and alumni in connection with the fatal hazing of Horacio “Atio” Castillo.

The dispute arose as Marc Ventura, who was admitted into the Justice department’s witness protection program, testifed against his fraternity brothers.

He had admitted being part of the initiation that left UST law student Castillo dead on Sept. 17, 2017.

On Monday, respondent Alex Bose, through lawyer Atty. Paris Real, contested Ventura’s enrolment in the WPP, saying he was disqualified and was not the least guilty, having admitted taking part first hand in the hazing. In fact, Ventura had admitted having actively dealt Atio some blows, said Real.

According to assistant state prosecutor Susan Villanueva, Ventura remains until now a respondent.

The DOJ panel also has not gotten a copy of Ventura’s affidavit.

Monday was the deadline for Ventura’s submission of a counter-affidavit.

The Castillo family shrugged off the non-submission. Atty. Lorna Kapunan said the criminal charges need not be withdrawn.

It is up to the court to determine if he qualified as state witness, she said.

Ventura is expected to submit his counteraffidavit.