Senate cites Arvin Balag for contempt

By , on October 18, 2017


“With all due respect, your honor, I’d like to invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Balag persisted. (Photo: Senator Migz Zubiri/Facebook)
“With all due respect, your honor, I’d like to invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Balag persisted. (Photo: Senator Migz Zubiri/Facebook)

One of the members of the Aegis Juris fraternity Arvin Balag on Wednesday was cited for contempt by the Senate during its inquiry into the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III after his continued refusal to cooperate in the probe.

Balag, believed to be the president of the fraternity, was named by John Paul Solano as the person who instructed the latter to lie about where he found Castillo.

During the inquiry, Balag, who consistently invoked his right against self-incrimination, was grilled by the Senate committee after his relentlessly refused to confirm if he is one of the members of the fraternity.

“With all due respect, your honor, I’d like to invoke my right against self-incrimination,” Balag said.

Head of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs Senator Panfilo Lacson reminded Balag he could be cited for contempt if he continues to decline the questions tossed at him.

“Be careful of irking the members of the committee,” Lacson said.

The committee’s vice-chairperson, Senator Grace Poe, slammed Balag and other Aegis Juris member for their refusal to answer questions.  Poe said that their silence violates their fraternity’s motto—’Do not injustice, suffer no justice’—as it brings injustice to Castillo’s death.

Poe then cited Balag in contempt.

“Weigh the consequence of being cited in contempt and detained,” she told Balag.

No to DNA testing

Members Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Oliver Onofre, Ralph Trangia, Joshua Macabili, Bongget Rogelio, and Ranie Santiago refused to give their DNA samples for an examination, only Jason Robiños, Jose Miguel Salamat, Zimon Padro, and Aeron Salientes were willing to have their DNAs tested.

Lacson said that the refusal of giving their DNAs is an implication that they are present during the brutal hazing.

“You know, when I hear somebody says na payag siya eh tiyak na wala sya dun [that he agrees, it’s sure that he was not there]. But as long as you say you don’t want to subject to DNA examination, most probably you were there,” Lacson said.

However, Lacson said that they will give Balag the chance to cooperate in the investigation on Atio’s death.