Aegis juris fratmen plead not guilty in Atio Castillo hazing case
MANILA, Philippines – Ten members of the Aegis Juris fraternity were arraigned on Tuesday, July 24, before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 for violation of the anti-hazing law.
All 10 pleaded not guilty to hazing University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III.
The prosecution will present its first witness on August 14.
Marc Anthony Ventura, the whistleblower who is up to become state witness, is expected to take the stand. Ventura, who confessed to participating in the spatula round of the hazing, was cleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a bid to turn him state witness.
It is up to the court to approve his becoming a state witness.
Before the arraignment on Tuesday, the DOJ dismissed all petitions for review filed by both the fraternity members and the Castillo camp.
The fratmen wanted to have the charges against them dropped, while the Castillos wanted to reinstate charges against UST Law Dean Nilo Divina.
The indictment stands as of now. The ten Aegis Juris fratmen are currently detained at the Manila City Jail. (READ: Brotherhood up to the end: Aegis Juris fratmen surrender together)
- Arvin Balag
- Ralph Trangia
- Oliver John Audrey Onofre
- Mhin Wei Chan
- Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo
- Joshua Joriel Macabali
- Axel Munro Hipe
- Marcelino Bagtang
- Jose Miguel Salamat
- Robin Ramos
Murder charges were dropped against the ten fratmen because according to the DOJ, "the cumulative acts of the respondent-members were not made for the purpose of killing Atio. The intention was merely to inflict physical harm as part of the fraternity initiation rites." – Rappler.com