In a family of professionals, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III wanted to be the first lawyer.

But just months into law school, members of a UST-based fraternity killed the 22-year-old Atio’s dream, something his family could not accept.

“Masaya ako para sa kanya kasi magpa-proper law na siya. Pagkatapos nito three [or four] years from now, magba-bar [exam] na siya. Lawyer na siya. Mayroon na kaming lawyer sa family. May kuya [na] silang lawyer kaso…” his aunt Tata Castillo said, gesturing at his coffin.

Hundreds of mourners turned up for Castillo’s funeral last Sept. 27, condemning his killing and demanding that perpetrators be brought to justice.

But they know it likely won’t come sooner.

They’re up against a fraternity described as a “factory of lawyers,” a label suggesting it influence and connections.

In the meantime, relatives prefer to remember the Atio they knew.

He was generally quiet but would light up whether conversations ventured into politics and the law, they recalled.

“He’s very interested in Philippine politics, it’s a discussion he was enticed with,” aunt Arlene Topacio said. “‘Yung goal niya maging senator or part of the Supreme Court.”

Such keen interest was not left unnoticed by his classmates and professors at the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters where he earned a political science degree.

“He loved to engage anyone in discussions about current political issues. He made it a point that he was aware of the major political issues,” Prof. Dennis Coronacion said.

Quite surprisingly, enrolling in law school was a last-minute decision for Atio, said Asst. Prof. Edmund Tayao.

“You know his [actions] would always be [that of] wanting to be relevant. He did not mention this to me but also to his other professors,” Tayao said.

“I’ve been honored to have known a true servant leader and friend who was Horacio. He’s the most selfless guy I’d ever known and his passing was a great lost not only to the

Thomasian community but to this country.” with reports from Lea Mat P. Vicencio

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