MANILA — Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday welcomed the sworn statement of witness Mark Ventura, a former leader of the Aegis Juris fraternity, which he described as a “step closer to justice for the hazing death of law student Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III”.
“I note with high regard that Marc won the fight from being a coward to one who fearlessly stared at the truth and preferred to be part of the light instead of the dark lies,” Zubiri said in a statement.
“Young Marc gives me hope because his young conscience made him tell the truth and free himself from the sinister code of silence to cover up the crime within the walls of the Aegis Juris den,” he added.
Zubiri made this remark after Ventura expressed his willingness to “face the consequences of his actions” which include abandoning his fraternity brothers.
Ventura, who has already been accepted to the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP), is the second person to talk about events that transpired leading to Atio’s death.
The first was John Paul Solano, prime suspect into Atio’s death. He, however, claimed that he was not there during initiation rites and was only called to revive the victim and bring him to the hospital.
Zubiri earlier slammed Solano, a medical technologist, for his claim that Atio died of a pre-existing heart condition and not hazing.
He noted that Solano is “blatantly lying through his teeth to cover up the criminal acts of his frat brods.”
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier said there is enough evidence to stand in court to prosecute the people liable in the case.
“It is a welcome development to the case and brings us one step closer to Justice for Atio and his family,” Zubiri said.
Zubiri, meanwhile, lamented how Ventura’s narration showed that the “frat brods were relentless in inflicting pain and injury.”
“Each paddle whack, each punch, and each candle wax drip had built into deathly blows from which no one could have emerged a whole person physically, emotionally and mentally,” Zubiri said.
“Atio was a whole man before he underwent hazing, and came out of it a broken mass in pain,” he added.
Zubiri, a family friend of the Castillos, initiated the Senate inquiry into Atio’s hazing death meant to draw recommendations for government agencies concerned and amendments of the Anti-Hazing Law. (PNA)