WATCH | UST folk hold prayer vigil, call for justice for slain law freshman

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Vigil for Horatio
Outrage seethes at UST over the death of Horatio Castillo in the wake of suspected hazing ritual.

Atio’s father could only blurt out: “He was my only son. I want justice for my son. I want justice.”


 
At the University of Santo Tomas, the mood in most areas of the campus is somber. The prevailing sentiment, one of shock and sadness at the untimely death of Horatio Castillo III, a freshman at the Faculty of Civil Law, apparently as the result of excessive physical abuse inflicted at a supposed “welcome ceremony” of the fraternity Aegis Juris, where he was to be a new member.

Emotion ran thick and high among Tomasians at the prayer vigil and candle lighting activity, as calls echoed for justice in the name of Horatio.

“Si Horatio na ito, guys. Si Horatio na ito, please,” gushed a female student, unable to maintain her composure, as the crowd gathered to condemn the apparent impunity and violence inflicted on “Atio” by the regime of fraternity-associated violence.

Vigil for Horatio
Emotional scene at UST prayer vigil for Horatio.

He had suffered bruises and multiple hematoma sites (congealed clotted blood), and drops of melted candlewax were reported scattered all over his body. He never made it to hospital after being found wrapped in a blanket and unceremoniously dumped at a Tondo district curbside.

Atio had earlier assured his father that he was just going to attend the so-called welcome ceremony of Aegis Juris, a Greek term that means shield or protection of justice and one of whose members happens to be the current Dean Nilo Divina of UST Civil Law.

According to Manila Police Supt. Erwin Margarejo, the department’s spokesman, based on experience the presentation of severe bruises and hematoma has frequently correlated with telltale episodes of coercive and violent hazing, or the ritual of bodily initiating a recruit into the organization, characterized by frat men dealing heavy blows and often inflicting serious injury on their victim.

Such manifestations could mean, Supt. Margarejo told journalists, “usually that there has been torture. Or hazing. Cases of traumatic injury like this often lead to cardiac and respiratory arrest.”

In the wake of the incident, Dean Divina announced, “all officers and members of Aegis Juris Fraternity are preventively suspended from the UST Faculty of Law effective September 18, 2017,” even as UST itself embarked on an official investigation.

University sources have indicated to News5 that the fraternity was not accredited by UST this school year, which means Aegis Juris has no permission or authority to conduct recruitment activity.

Atio’s father could only blurt out: “He was my only son. I want justice for my son. I want justice.”

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