MANILA— Senators on Monday slammed the officials of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) anew for allowing the Aegis Juris fraternity to operate despite not being a recognized organization.
During the resumption of the hearing into the alleged hazing death of UST law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, senators stressed that UST officials showed “negligence” for imposing vague guidelines on organization accreditation.
Senator Grace Poe said the fraternity was even allowed to join the UST Faculty of Civil Law freshman orientation and appear on the faculty website.
Office of Student Affairs director Socorro Guan Hing explained that the fraternity submitted their papers for recognition and were “presumed regular.”
UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, for his part, clarified that the fraternity was removed from the website when they were not recognized.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who pushed for the hearing into Atio’s death, stressed that the problem was that students did not know the status of the organization because if they did, they would not have joined the fraternity in the first place.
Because of UST’s inaction, the senator said Atio joined the frat thinking it was “recognized” and “duly-registered.”
Poe, meanwhile, said that she will ask the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to determine if the university should also have liability for negligence.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also asked UST officials to submit to the committee “steps undertaken right after incident” and “measures that will be taken in the next few months.”
He also urged officials to be more “proactive” in preventing incidents such as this from happening again.