The dean of the UST Faculty of Civil Law is under fire for allegedly failing to rein in his fellow fraternity members behind the fatal hazing of law freshman Horacio Tomas Castillo III.
Lawyer Nilo Divina is among the most prominent members of the 38-year-old Aegis Juris Fraternity, but he said he had been on leave from the group since he became dean eight years ago.
The fraternity, whose name means “Shield of Justice,” was still in the process of renewing its annual accreditation at the time of the incident, the Office for Student Affairs said.
But school officials, particularly Divina, should be investigated for possible liability, lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who represents the victim’s family, told a television interview.
“I think we would all be made fools, or he thinks we are all fools, to believe his story that… he didn’t know there was going to be initiation,” said Kapunan, whose other client has filed a disbarment case against Divina over a separate issue – his links to elections chief Andres Bautista.
Divina earlier urged those behind the fatal hazing to come forward, saying “it is imperative that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.”
“I am making it a solemn commitment to personally champion the cause of Atio, (Castillo’s nickname),” he said in a Facebook post last Sept. 20.
Divina suspended all Aegis Juris members on Sept. 18 and banned them from entering UST.
But he later modified the order over concerns the suspension would make it difficult for police to question them.
Divina told the Varsitarian on Sept. 19 that he was “not aware of any hazing activity” at the UST law school.
“We prohibit and denounce hazing in any form or manner. We also prohibited recruitment of first-year students to any fraternity,” he said in a text message.
“I took a leave eight years ago when I asz̄sumed the deanship. I have not been involved…in any of their activities since then.”
Divina said on Sept. 28 he was planning to resign from the Aegis Juris Fraternity following the death of Castillo.
“I am seriously considering [resigning], but not now. [The resignation] will have no bearing on the ongoing investigation,” Divina said.