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Frat man’s detention in Senate continues


By Hannah Torregoza

Aegis Juris fraternity member Arvin Balag on Monday said he favors the abolition of hazing in fraternity initiation rites.

Arvin Balag gestures during the Senate hearing on the death of University of Santo Tomas (US) law student Horacio Castillo III due to hazing in Pasay, ove,ber 06,2017.(Czar Dancel)

Arvin Balag (photo by Czar Dancel)

Balag expressed his stand on the issue when Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, sought his recommendation on the current Anti-Hazing Law in response to the death of University Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Balag was cited for contempt and ordered detained at the Senate last Oct. 18 hearing after he repeatedly refused to confirm when asked if he was the “grand praefectus” or president of the Aegis Juris fraternity tagged in the hazing.

He initially apologized for his actions last hearing before he responded to Lacson’s question.

“I would like to apologize for what happened last hearing. It was never my intention to disrespect the committee, Mr. Chair, senators. As to the question last time, I was not the president po. I ceased to be an officer last August 2017 po,” Balag said.

“It should be defined po talaga (really) and hazing should be abolished po,” he answered.

But despite his apology the Senate panel did not release him from detention.

“Alam mo (You know,) Arvin, before this hearing, I, as chair, was inclined to talk to my colleagues to lift the contempt charges para ma-release ka na (so that you would be released),” Lacson told Balag.

“But then you filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for TRO (temporary restraining order) so nobody wants to lose by default. So we’ll fight it out in the court,” Lacson said

“So, in the meantime, you’ll stay a little longer in the Senate premises,” the senator said.

Asked if Balag will stay in the Senate detained until Christmas, Lacson told reporters said it would depend on him.

“Depende sa kanya. Kung iuurong niya, wala nang kaso, walang pressure sa amin on what to do. At saka sa disposition niya. Pero as long as there’s a pending case sa SC, it’s not good for us to render the case moot and academic by releasing him,” Lacson pointed out.

“Let’s put it this way. Ayaw naman namin matalo na parang i-release namin because meron siyang finile para maging moot and academic. Sabi ko nga, nobody wants to lose by default. So mas mainam na lang na ilaban sa SC. He asked for it, then we’ll give it to him,” he added.

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