The dean of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law, Nilo Divina, has been arrested in connection with the hazing death of Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo III, according to the police.
The National Bureau of Investigation arrested Dean Divina as one of the persons of interest and will be in police detention to assist police in investigation, Manila Police said.
“There must be a burden of proof on the authorities of the school to prove their innocence,” police said, adding that other UST officials should not be let off the hook.
Soon after the arrest, Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of the victim’s family praised the police for their good work done and urged his clients to calm down for the law is not respecter of persons.
Dean Divina earlier made a statement in a TV interview that UST had “a very strict policy against hazing” and should not be held liable because the crime happened outside its Manila campus. He added that Aegis Juris, of which he is a member, was not currently accredited by the university, further reason why the school did not share in the responsibility for Castillo’s death. Divina also maintained that he had taken a leave of absence from the UST-based law fraternity after becoming dean eight years ago.
In a press conference, Kapunan clarified that her comments are not meant as a personal attack on Divina but that she was simply asking the NBI to follow the Anti-Hazing Law, which lists school officials as responsible for hazing deaths under their watch. “It cannot just be the 18 neophytes or members of the fraternity,” Kapunan said. “It just so happens that the dean is Divina. If it was any other head, they, too, should be investigated.”
Freshman University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo III died after undergoing hazing in the mid of last month, according to the Manila Police District medico-legal doctor.
According to a report by Mark Salazar on News To Go, the medico-legal doctor said Castillo died of massive heart attack possibly due to the injuries he suffered.
The medico-legal team from MPD arrived at the morgue at the scene and performed an autopsy on Castillo’s body.
The doctor briefed the family afterward and confirmed that it was a case of hazing.
The victim’s body had hematoma on both arms but had no burn marks.
His body was found by a concerned citizen at a sidewalk in Tondo on Sunday morning and brought to Chinese General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.