Parents of accused frat members in Atio hazing death want them under NBI custody, not MPD

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Ten members of the Aegis Juris fraternity linked to the death of UST student Horacio 'Atio' Castillo are accompanied by NBI agents following their voluntary surrender at the NBI headquarters in Manila. — MIGUEL DE GUZMAN/PHILIPPINE STAR

MANILA – Parents of the 10 Aegis Juris fraternity members charged for the death of hazing victim Horatio “Atio” T. Castillo want their children to remain under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and have sought to stop their transfer to the Manila Police District (MPD).

In a letter submitted Monday to NBI Director Dante A. Gierran, the parents said, “(I)n behalf of our children… we would like to request from your good office to keep and maintain custody of our children and to inform RTC-Manila not to transfer them to the custody of the MPD because it will not be safe for our children to be in the custody of the MPD.”

Accused Min Wei Chan, Jose Miguel Salamat, John Robin G. Ramos, Marcelino Bagtang, Jr., Arvin A. Balag, Ralph Trangia, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali and Hans Matthew Rodrigo voluntarily surrendered to the NBI last Friday, March 23 after the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 40 issued arrest warrants against them for their connection to Mr. Castillo’s death on Sept. 17, 2017.

The letter cited an earlier incident where MPD operatives forcibly entered the house of accused Mr. Trangia and attempted to apprehend him without an arrest warrant.

“From the foregoing, it is quiet clear that our children will not be safe under the custody of MPD. We wish that you will not place the safety and lives of our children under imminent danger by allowing the transfer of their custody to MPD,” the parents said.

Meanwhile, Manila RTC Branch 40 Presiding Judge Alfredo D. Ampuan has also announced that he is inhibiting himself from the case to dispel any thought of bias after it was discovered that he is the brother-in-law of Dante Jimenez, a supporter of the Castillos. — Dane Angelo M. Enerio