THE MANILA Regional Trial Court Branch 11 has found Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of the parents of fraternity hazing victim Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, guilty of “unjust vexation” in a case filed by UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina.

Judge Cicero Jurado Jr., in a decision dated July 24, reversed a January lower court ruling acquitting Kapunan, saying it was “erroneous and obviously tainted with discrepancy.”

Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Karla Funtila-Abugan had acquitted Kapunan after finding that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Divina said he felt vindicated, but added he had moved on and did not bear hatred or rancor toward Kapunan.

“But, justice must be served and lessons ought to be learned,” he told the Varsitarian.

The Civil Law dean haled Kapunan to court for her remarks in a story published by the Varsitarian on Oct. 8, 2017, weeks after Atio Castillo was slain in hazing rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

Kapunan was quoted as saying that Divina “should come forward and not be an obstructionist to justice.”

Jurado wrote in his ruling: “It is apparent that the private respondent’s statement is annoying and [vexatious] to petitioner Divina. The term ‘obstructionist’ is upsetting to him.”

The Manila court said Judge Abugan disregarded the prosecution’s evidence showing that Divina did not recruit Atio Castillo to the Aegis Juris fraternity.

Divina’s lawyers also pointed out that the law dean did not coddle the fraternity members, and that the Department of Justice dismissed the case filed by the Castillo family against Divina.

Kapunan was sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment and was ordered to pay Divina P2 million in damages. She can still appeal the Manila court’s ruling.

Carmina Castillo, mother of Atio, told the Varsitarian: “I am actually surprised how an acquittal is reversed, Atty. Lorna Kapunan is a brilliant lawyer. I am here to support her every step of the way,”


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