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Manila RTC denies dismiss appeal in Atio hazing case

March 2, 2022 Hector Lawas 883 views

THE Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied the demurrer to evidence filed by the 10 accused implicated in the widely controversial hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III last 2017.

A demurrer is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.

In a 10-page order dated February 24, 2022, Branch 11 acting Presiding Judge Shirley Magsipoc-Pagalilauan junked the demurrer of accused Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, and Marcelino Bagtang, Jr. for lack of merit.

Castillo, then a 22-year-old freshman at the Faculty of Civil Law in the University of Santo Tomas, died of “severe blunt traumatic injuries” after allegedly undergoing the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity on September 17, 2017.

The accused are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 8049, the Anti-Hazing Law, after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found probable cause to indict them over Castillo’s death.

“The prosecution having established that Horacio died of hazing and that all the accused were present during commission of the crime, it is now incumbent upon the accused to adduce evidence to controvert that of the prosecution or that they prevented the commission of a crime of hazing,” the court order read.

According to the court, the prosecution’s evidence was able to establish all the elements of hazing.

In 2020, the Manila RTC has denied the petition for bail filed by 10 Aegis Juris fratmen implicated in Atio’s death.

Manila RTC Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali stressed the evidence of guilt against them was strong.

“It was established that the herein victim was subjected to physical injuries and died by reason thereof,” the order read in part.