UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina on Tuesday said he was not aware of the hazing rites held by the Aegis Juris Fraternity that resulted in the death of law freshman Horacio Castillo III.
Divina, an alumnus of the fraternity, said he took a leave from the Aegis Juris eight years ago when he became law dean, and no longer participates in activities of the fraternity.
“I am not aware of any hazing activity. We prohibit and denounce hazing in any form or manner. We also prohibited recruitment of first-year students to any fraternity,” Divina told the Varsitarian in a phone interview.
“I took a leave 8 years ago when I assumed the deanship. I have not been involved nor participated in any of their activities since then,” he added.
Divina placed members of Aegis Juris on indefinite preventive suspension effective Sept. 18, Monday. Fraternity members were also barred from entering the campus.
The Civil Law dean said in a memorandum on Monday he ordered the suspension to ensure an “unobstructed investigation” into the death of Castillo.
“[The suspension] is only preventive suspension so there will be investigations… after that, sanctions will be imposed. Everything will be based on the outcome [of the investigation] kasi for now, wala [pang results],” Divina told the Varsitarian on Tuesday.
Castillo’s parents said on Monday their son had sought permission to join the “welcome” rites for new members of the Aegis Juris at UST on Saturday, after week-long initiation activities.
But Castillo, a 22-year-old UST political science graduate, did not go home the following day, Sunday.
His body was brought to Chinese General Hospital by a certain John Paul Solano, and then to Archangel Funeral Homes in Sampaloc.
Horacio Jr., Castillo’s father, said his son’s body was bloated and bore bruises and burns from candle wax and cigarettes. An autopsy found that Castillo had a heart attack because of severe trauma.
In a statement released on Monday, the University administration said it had launched an official investigation, and offered its condolences to the family of the slain law freshman.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday to conduct a parallel probe and file charges against those involved in the hazing rites.