Admin says it declared ‘day of mourning’ for Atio’s death, denies claims of indifference

by Angelika Ortega

Colleagues of fatal hazing victim Horacio Castillo III offer candles and prayers during a vigil at the Faculty of Civil Law lobby, Sept. 18. Photo by Mark Darius Sulit/TomasinoWeb.

The University denied on Friday, Oct. 20, that it was indifferent to the death of its slain law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

In a statement released on its Facebook page, UST expressed its concern over the “inaccurate portrayal” of its efforts to help with the fatal hazing case of Castillo.

“At no point did the University indicate lack of interest concerning the death of Horacio,” the post read.

Sen. Francis Escudero previously slammed the University administration in a press briefing last Thursday, Oct. 19, for its supposed apathy on the death of the law freshman.

“[UST] pa naman [ay] isang religious school. Sila pa dapat ‘yung nangunguna sana para magbigay ng magandang ehemplo, lalo partikular na sa pagpapaharap sa pananagutan ng sino mang liable sa krimeng ito,” Escudero said.

The senator added, “Actually, mula nang mangyari [‘yung pagkamatay ni Castillo] wala pa ‘kong narinig na opisyal ng UST na nagsalita tungkol dito, labas sa Faculty of Civil Law o labas kay Dean [Nilo] Divina.”

UST, however, claimed it has shown grief since the news of Castillo’s death broke out.

“On the first day that the news broke out, the University manifested its grief, offered prayers, and conveyed its profound sympathy to the family of Horacio,” it posted.

“It condemned the senseless act of violence and declared a day of mourning,” the statement further read.

The declaration of the said Day of Mourning and Prayer last Sept. 21 coincided with the state-declared National Day of Protest.

UST suspended classes and office work on that day but offered a concelebrated mass at the Santisimo Rosario Parish in observance of the Day of Mourning and Prayer during the enthronement rites of the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

There was no explicit mention of Castillo in the said declaration from the Office of the Secretary-General.

The University also affirmed that it created an investigation committee that coordinated with the Manila Police District and the National Bureau of Investigation, “which led to the identification of the members of the fraternity and possible perpetrators of the crime.”

Castillo was a 22-year-old freshman who died of heart attack after undergoing hazing rites performed by members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.