Prosecutors present paddle used by fratmen in Atio’s hazing

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Aegis Juris fratmen attend the second trial of the hazing death of UST Law freshman Horacio "Atio" Castillo III at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20. (Photo by Jose Miguel J. Sunglao/The Varsitarian)

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday presented the paddle allegedly used by Aegis Juris fratmen in the initiation rites that killed Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Atio’s mother Carmina described the paddle — considered a “crown of glory” by the fratmen — as a “piece of wooden trash.”

“The evidence is strong. We have a dead person, that is the strongest evidence,” Carmina told the reporters.

Horacio Castillo Jr., Atio’s father, was confident on the prosecution team.

“We are very happy. You saw how good the prosecutors were. We have a very good team,” he said.

The cross-examination of the prosecution witness, Marc Ventura, continued and was expected to stretch in the coming weeks, said Olivia Torrevillas, senior assistant state prosecutor.

“The cross-examination] will be very long because there are numerous lawyers who will cross-examine… It will not be finished immediately,” Torrevillas told the Varsitarian in a chance interview.

In October last year, Ventura told prosecutors Atio was given four paddle strikes before he collapsed. The fifth one, given by “grand praefectus” Arvin Balag, rendered the Aegis Juris neophyte unconscious.

Ventura went emotional the first time he took the stand on Aug. 14, after testifying against 10 of the accused Aegis Juris “brods,” namely: Balag, Ralph Trangia, Marcelino Bagtang, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat and Danielle Hans Matthew.

All the accused Aegis Juris officers, accompanied by their lawyers, were present in the hearing.

The next hearing will be on Sept. 18.

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