By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed that two possible witnesses have talked to him concerning the death of hazing victim and University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
From his conversation, Aguirre learned members of the Aeris Juris fraternity have been restraining fellow members to reporting what they know about the initiation rites of the brotherhood which led to the death of their neophyte member.
Aguirre bared one of these persons he met at his office Wednesday night and had intimate knowledge about Aegis Juris but is not a member of fraternity which invited him to join but turned it down.
The other is a member of the fraternity whom Aguirre has not personally met but has been in touch with through his mobile phone.
“Hind pa rin nagpapa-ilalim sa WPP sapagkat natatakot sila at may banta sa kanilang buhay (They are not yet under the Witness Protection Program because they are frightened and their lives have been threatened),” Aguirre told. reporters.
The secretary found out from them that six fraternity members are currently being held by the senior members of Aegis Juris.
“Ang sabi sa amin ng senior members of the frat ayaw sila palabasin, ayaw pagsalitain at invoke na code of silence (We were told the senior fraternity members would not allow them to go out, would not allow them to talk, and invoke the code of silence),” he said.
Aside from the two, Aguirre said he was also told another fraternity member is also sending surrender feelers to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
On the other hand, Aguirre said not everyone would be accommodated in the WPP and would be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis
“Kaya iba may naalalaman para malinis ang pangalan at kayo ay mauna, at kayo ang mauna mabigyan coverage ng WPP. Kayo bigyan ng priority (Those who know about what happened to clear their names and who come in first and then they would be given priority WPP coverage),” he said.
“Sapagkat hindi kailangan ng madami testigo (We don’t need many witnesses),” Aguirre added.
Even if their testimonies are corroborative, the secretary assured they could still be placed under the WPP.
Based on what he learned from the two individuals, Aguirre said the initiation rites are done by batches and Castillo was the only person during the initiation rites held over the last weekend.
“Porke solo kaya pinagdiskitahan nung initiation rites (Because he was the only neophyte being initiated he got targeted),” he said.