Aegis Juris leader last to paddle Atio, says new state witness
A new state witness says Aegis Juris Fraternity leader Arvin Balag was fifth and last to hit Horacio “Atio” Castillo III with a paddle before the Faculty of Civil Law freshman collapsed and lost consciousness.
Former Aegis Juris fratman Marc Anthony Ventura issued a sworn statement before the Department of Justice (DOJ) identifying Ralph Trangia, Axel Hipe, Balag and an unidentified member as the ones who hit Castillo during the hazing rites.
A total of 23 individuals were present in the initiation rites of the law freshman, according to Ventura’s statement.
The former Aegis Juris member was placed under the witness protection program for his testimony and charges filed against him before the DOJ will also be dropped.
Ventura’s statement indicated that Castillo’s paddling commenced at 5 a.m., three hours after the rites started with a prayer at 2 a.m.
He also stated that the law freshman fell to his knees on the third strike and was hit again by an unidentified member.
“Atio” collapsed on the fifth hit by Balag and was made to sit on a chair and smell amonia so he would wake up.
Ventura also saw someone checking Castillo’s pulse as well as talking to him. The group began panicking when he was still unconscious after 15 to 20 minutes.
Balag instructed the other members to drip candle wax on Castillo’s chest and foot but was still unresponsive.
Fratman Robin Ramos suggested to bring Castillo to a hospital but Balag hesitated in fear of being held by hospital personnel.
Balag eventually agreed discussing with other fraternity members and left the fraternity library to see his driver and fetch his vehicle, followed by Trangia.
Ventura said that Castillo was loaded to a truck but Balag ordered to bring him back to the library and was resuscitated by Hipe.
He also said that “Atio” vomited and his eyes responded to the light coming from a cellular phone.
Aegis Juris member John Paul Solano performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and instructed other members to massage the law freshman’s hands and feet.
Solano suggested to bring Castillo to the hospital after noticing the neophyte’s pulse rate drop to “borderline” level.
Solano rode his motorcycle when they brought Castillo on a red pick-up to the Chinese General Hospital while a black vehicle carried Balag. Castillo was pronounced dead on arrival.
Ventura is the second member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, after Solano, who spoke about Castillo’s death on Sept. 17 in the hands of the fraternity’s members. — M.W.D.P