UST reverend calls for time of healing on ‘Atio’ case

Published September 18, 2018, 3:18 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Erma Edera

The time for the healing of wounds has come for the hazing case of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, according to the secretary-general of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Rev. Fr. Jesus Miranda O.P., in a memorial service held on Monday at the UST Santisimo Rosario Parish, a year after the death of the Civil Law freshman.

Horacio Tomas ‘Atio’ Castillo III

“After a year, don’t you think it’s about time that total healing would already happen? Time heals wounds. It could be healed through prayers and it can also be healed if justice will be served to those responsible for such an abominable incident,” Miranda said.

Castillo family was not the only one who was “hurt” by the incident but the University as well, he added.

“A deep and painful wound was inflicted on the family of Atio. I don’t think that only his family that was hurt, but I think even the University [was],” he said.

However, Carmina Castillo, Atio’s mother said in an interview that time stopped for their family.

“We remember every hour, every minute we felt scared he was missing. It was so fresh. I could remember every step. It was as if we stopped there, it is almost a year [but] it doesn’t seem like a year,” she said.

“We feel na nandun pa rin kami, that particular day. ‘Yung particular time, Sept. 17,” Carmina added.

“There is a piece of you missing. As much as possible you want to adjust but you cannot. Other people are moving on, you see the world change…you even see the children grow up, Atio’s batchmates in law school are already in second year,” Horacio Jr., Atio’s father said in Filipino.

“Such unfortunate and painful events should make us reflect deeply on our core as Thomasians and as a university. We need to go back to our revered values as a Catholic institution,” Miranda said.

Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina was also present in the mass and said he still feels the pain of losing a son, a year after the death of Castillo.

“Up to now, we feel the pain of loss as I consider Atio as a son because he was a former student of our faculty, and as the dean of our Faculty of Civil Law, I am the father. So in that sense, I consider it a loss also in my part,” Divina said.

“For the Atio’s family, I continue to pray for discernment, for peace, and for healing and that we hope and pray we can leave this behind us and emerge as a better institution, a better Faculty of Civil of Law with love, affection and care for one another,” he added.

The memorial service was organized by the Faculty of Civil Law Student Council.

Disbarment case

On September 4, Horacio Jr. said the pending disbarment case against UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and twenty other lawyers will soon be decided upon by the Supreme Court (SC).

Carmina claimed that Aegis Juris members worked with Dean Divina to cover up Atio’s death.

“These are all lawyers. These lawyers all participated dun sa coverup. Nakakahiya. Again, I stress, sino nagsabing sunugin ang tickler, linisin ang fraternity library, tanggalin ‘yung mga CCTV… Anong klase silang mga lawyer… Nakakahiya,” she said.

Carmina added that after Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s committee report on the hazing incident was accepted by the SC, the high court acted without anyone filing a disbarment case.

Divina clarified that he reached out to the lawyers of Castillo.

“It’s a very awkward position, as you know. They filed cases against me. They also were responsible for the disbarment complaint against me. I tried to reach out to the lawyer, but unfortunately that did not produce the result we would want,” Divina said on Monday.

“We leave it up to the custody of the family if they really want to pursue it but as far as I concerned, I am not part of the groupchat and I wasn’t even mentioned in the groupchat so I have no custody,” he added.

Secure conviction

Atio’s parents also said they are hopeful to secure a conviction against the ‘Aegis 10’ because they have a strong case against them.

The ‘Aegis 10’ who are currently detained at the Manila City Jail are Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Hans Mattew Rodrigo, and Marcelino Bagtang.

“We are hopeful, very hopeful, we have a dead person, pinakamalakas na ebidensya ‘yun. (that’s the strongest evidence),” Carmina said.