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Divina refuses to step down as UST Law dean amid Atio death probe

"I came to the conclusion that I cannot abandon my students, especially the barristers preparing for the examination," UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said. The STAR/Mong Pintolo, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina on Wednesday refused to take leave from his post despite ongoing investigations into the death of law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III.

During the resumption of the Senate probe into the death of Castillo, Sen. Grace Poe asked Divina if he ever thought of stepping down while investigations are ongoing.

Divina's law firm is representing the UST Faculty of Civil Law for this case. The UST Law dean is also a member of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

"I thought about that very seriously and after deliberation and bringing it to my own prayers, I came to the conclusion that I cannot abandon my students, especially the barristers preparing for the examination," Divina told Poe.

Divina stressed that he has the support of the students, the alumni and the faculty despite the controversies he is facing.

"I don’t think my dedication, my commitment to teaching and as an academician has been changed because of this," Divina said.

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Poe noted that Divina waited for hours before doing an investigation upon getting reports that one of their students was killed in a fraternity hazing.

The senator added that the dean waited for another day before informing Castillo's parents.

"If I were a member of the school, let’s say board or even as dean, I would be frantic already the minute I found out that a student was in trouble but you waited how many hours for a confirmation," Poe said.

On the other hand, the reported president of Aegis Juris Fraternity was cited in contempt during the resumption of the hearing.

Poe repeatedly asked Arvin Balag if he was indeed the president of the fraternity but he refused to answer, saying that he is invoking his right against self-incrimination.

RELATED: UST Law dean considers resignation from frat

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