Horacio Tomas Castillo III, a 22-year old first year law student at the University of Santo Tomas, was found dead in Balut, Tondo Sunday afternoon (September 17).
According to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, his lifeless body was found “bloated, full of drops of candle wax, and wrapped in a blanket” on one of the sidewalks in the area. His death is being attributed to hazing by members of the fraternity Aegis Juris, which he sought to join.
In an interview with the newspaper, Castillo’s mother Minnie said her son informed her last Saturday that he will be attending the fraternity’s welcome ceremony and promised to return the following morning. He never did. Instead, Mrs. Castillo received an anonymous text message saying that her son’s remains are already at the Chinese General Hospital.
The mother added that she wasn’t bothered at all when her son informed her that he is joining the said fraternity. “Hindi raw sila pisikal, academic daw sila. They are there to help out pagdating sa pag-aaral. Pagdating ng bar exam, tutulungan ka,” she told PDI.
For its part, the UST administration has expressed its profound sympathy for the Castillo family. “We express our profound sympathy and offer our prayers to his family for their pain and anguish— a pain that we share seeing that the life of our very own student, with all of its aspirations and potentials, taken away because of a senseless act,” the University said in its official statement.
The UST administration also vowed that it will do its part in helping the family achieve justice against those who committed the hazing. “Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice,” it added.
As of Monday afternoon, UST Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina has announced that members of the Aegis Juris fraternity are preventively suspended for the meantime.