The University of Santo Tomas (UST) released a statement condemning the death 22-year-old freshman law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III or “Atyo” who was declared dead on arrival at 9:21 in Chinese General Hospital on Sunday morning due to a hazing rite.
“Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice,” the statement read.
UST also expressed their sympathy to the Castillo family.
“No words can describe our sadness for this unfortunate incident. We express our profound sympathy and offer our prayers to his family for their pain and anguish – a pain that we share seeing that the life of our very own student, with all of its aspirations and potentials, taken away because of a senseless act,” UST said.
“The UST CSC demands for a rigorous investigation on the people and the fraternity involved in the death of Horacio Tomas Castillo III. May he get the justice he deserves. Fraternities deal with brotherhood, but violence should not be its currency,” it added.
Castillo III, wrapped in a blanket, was found dead by bystanders on the pavement in the streets of Manila.
According to Horacio Tomas Castillo Jr., the father of the student, his son asked for his permission before attending the “welcome ceremony” of the fraternity Aegis Juris— a recognized law school-based fraternity at UST and even promised to be home on Sunday morning.
The father said that they received a text from an unknown number informing them that their son was brought to the Chinese General Hospital. When the Castillos arrived, they were told that Atyo’s body had been sent to Aracangel Funeral Homes in Sampaloc, Manila.
The police confirmed that hazing killed the student who was found covered in bruises and candle wax drip marks.
“The victim suffered hematoma on both upper arms, while bruises and drips of candle were seen on the different parts of the body,” MPD’s media release said.
According to parents, Castillo III assured them that Aegis Juris does not practice hazing which prompted them to allow their son to attend the said “welcome ceremony”.
“I told him not to join because I didn’t want hazing because I’m worried. But sabi niya, no walang manyayaring [But he said, no there’s no hazing involved] hazing because this is a legal fraternity and the dean is a member of the fraternity,” Castillo Jr said.
However, Nilo Divina an alumnus of Aegis Juris and dean of UST faculty of civil law confirmed that the fraternity was not coordinated with the faculty.
“It was not coordinated with the faculty. We are not aware of such event. We do not involve ourselves in activities of any fraternity,” Divina said.
The UST Faculty of Civil Law has already ordered the suspension of all officers and members of the Aegis Juris to ensure unobstructed investigation.
“To ensure unobstructed investigation, all officers and members of the Aegis Juris fraternity are preventively suspended from the UST Faculty of Civil Law effective September 18, 2017,” Divina said in a memorandum on Monday.
“Members of this group therefore would not be allowed to enter the campus or the Faculty of Civil Law or attend classes until further orders,” the memo read.
Futhermore, The Aegis Juris fraternity vowed to cooperate with the investigation of the sudden death of Castillo.
“The Fraternity extends its condolences to the bereaved family of Horacio at these very trying times. Rest assured that the Fraternity will extend its utmost cooperation in the investigation of this unfortunate incident,” Aegis Juris said in a statement.
Sen. Villanueva condemns killing of Castillo
The Thomasian Senator Joel Villanueva expressed his sympathy on the UST law student’s death.
He emphasized that, “violence has no room in an institution that upholds Christian values and ideals.”
Villanueva also urged the institution and the authorities to investigate the death of Castillo which he said is a “senseless act of violence”.
“As a UST alumnus, I am deeply concerned at this recent event and urge the UST and the proper authorities to investigate and hold the people accountable for this unfortunate incident involving our fellow Thomasian.” Villanueva said.
“No type of brotherhood can ever equate to the sanctity of life. And words will never be able to define such violence that has transpired in an esteemed academic institution which took away the life of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III,” he added.