Atio Castillo’s family seeks help from Vatican to investigate UST


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MANILA, Philippines – Horacio "Atio" Castillo III’s family has sought the help of the Vatican to find justice for their son.

The family of Atio Castillo sent a letter to the Vatican to investigate alleged UST’s “inaction.”
The family of Atio Castillo sent a letter to the Vatican to investigate alleged UST’s “inaction.”

Carminia, Atio’s mother confirmed that the Vatican already received their letter asking the Holy See to investigate the University of Santo Tomas (UST) “inaction” towards the death of her son.

It’s been a year since Atio died in the hands of his fellow law students during an initiation rite of the Aegis Juris fraternity. He suffered "severe blunt traumatic injuries” that ultimately led to his death.

The UST is the only university in the entire country to be granted with a pontifical title by the Pope. It also means that they are under the authority of the Vatican.

Mrs. Castillo hopes that the Pope will listen to their plea. She said, “I would guess that the Vatican saw the flow of our theory with regards to the complaint. I believe they will look at it. I believe that they will respond positively on our part."

Dissatisfied with how the UST is taking the incident, Carmina Castillo explained their action, "This undertaking is being done not to divide but strengthen the present school system as well as to look after our children who work very hard as students, that they may be protected and be reminded the school is there to guide them to become morally independent individuals seeking the goodness in all situations.”

Zubiri suggests Vatican probe

It was February this year when Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri suggested to the Castillo family to seek the help of the Pope after the UST has been “silent” about the issue.

Zubiri explained, “Being a Pontifical school, under the realm of the Vatican, they are also subject to investigative procedures of the Vatican.”

“It’s very disappointing, the silence is deafening, ” Mrs. Castillo described the inaction of the University officials.

UST ready to explain their side

UST Law Dean Nilo Divina, who was a member of Aegis Juris defended the university and said that it has practiced “due diligence” over the incident.

Divina said, “We have always maintained that UST is not at fault. It has exercised the diligence required of it under the circumstances. We have banned hazing in all manner or form long before this incident."

Divina continued that UST even suspended all accreditations of fraternities and sororities indefinitely, attended Senate hearings and cooperated with the authorities.

When asked for their reaction on the Vatican probe, Divina said, "We'll basically explain our decision — that we have done all that we could under the circumstances."

Meanwhile, 10 Aegis Juris Fraternity members are still locked up at the Manila City Jail for their on going trial for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

Ralph Trangia, one of the accused, filed for bail before the Manila Regional Trial Court's Branch 20 which prompted Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali to call for prosecution witness Marc Ventura for a cross examination on Tuesday.

— Sally, The Summit Express


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