University of Santo Tomas (UST) Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law Nilo Divina on Monday filed a counter-affidavit in response to the supplemental complaint the parents of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III filed against him and other officials of UST.
“By issuing the said blanket suspension, respondent Divina effectively allowed respondent-members to escape undetected and unscathed, and at the very least, to avoid being directly questioned by the MPD on Atio’s death,” the supplemental complaint read.
Divina, who is now facing the complaints of murder, violation of anti-hazing law, and obstruction of justice sought the dismissal of the aforementioned complaint before the Department of Justice. The lawyer refuted all allegations against him and described the complaint as “conjectures” and a “twisted logic.”
“At the risk of being repetitious, complainants’ allegation that I, whether, as Dean or trustee, have actual knowledge of fraternity’s alleged hazing rites is not supported by proof. The basic rule is that mere allegation is not evidence and and is not equivalent to proof,” the counter-affidavit read.
In his 30-page counter-affidavit, Divina regarded the death of Atio as “grave injustice” but said that the death of Atio should not be used to persecute innocent people.
“Indeed, while the full force of the law should be used to bring justice those responsible for the death of Atio, we should also not allow his memory to be tainted with the persecution of innocent people in his name,” Divina said.
Divina also submitted copies of CCTV footage from the Divina Law Firm and claimed that there was no meetup that happened between him and Atio five days before the initiation rites.
Castillo’s parents alleged that Divina knew of initiation rites before it happened. According to the Castillos, they found a text message from Atio saying that he was in Petron gas station along Buendia Avenue which is near Divina Law Firm.
“Atio did not even mention my name or my law firm. Indeed, there must be at least a dozen law firms in the Petron area. In our building lane, there are several law firms. There is simply nothing in the foregoing text exchange that can be construed as indicative of actual prior knowledge on my part of the hazing that was to be conducted on September 17,” Divina said.
The lawyer also slammed Atty. Lorna Kapunan for “pushing (her) own agenda.”
Divina said that the supplemental complaint-affidavits against him are “the products of the crude maneuverings of persons who claim to represent and care about the complainants but in truth are pursuing their own personal agenda.”
It can be remembered that Divina filed libel complaints against Kapunan for claiming that he is liable for the hazing-related killing of Atio.
“It is public knowledge that new counsel of the complainants is the same lawyer who had been trying to implicate me and my law firm in the Impeachment Complaint filed against the then-Chairman of the Commission on Elections,” he said.
“The publication ran counter to the confidential nature of disbarment proceedings,” the law dean added.