4 APO hazing suspects walk free
- Aie Balagtas See () - September 26, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines –  A Makati City judge dismissed the hazing charges against four members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity who were tagged in the death of a 19-year-old college student of the University of Makati.

“The court (sees) that there is no sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that the aforesaid crime has been committed by the accused, thus the prosecution failed to establish the evidence of probable cause,” Judge Honorio Guanlao Jr. of Regional Trial Court Branch 57 said in a one-page order.

The decision was released 40 days after EJ Karl Intia was killed in an alleged fraternity initiation rite on Aug. 13. His body was later retrieved from a ravine along Marcos Highway in Sta. Maria, Laguna.

Guanlao ordered the immediate release of John Reynald Marin and Michael Pagulayan, both 19; Roesel Wesceslao, 18; and Rico Mansalapus, 31. They were freed at 6:10 p.m. Friday, said jail officer Police Officer 3 Edbert Muyot.

City Prosecutor Feliciano Aspi earlier recommended charging the four accused and 12 others of violating the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act 8049 for Intia’s death, based on the evidence submitted by the Makati police.

Under the RA 8049, officers and members of the fraternity “who actually participated in the infliction of physical harm shall be liable as principals.”

‘Surprised, hurt’

Intia’s father, Oscar, told The STAR he was surprised by Guanlao’s decision and that he was “very, very hurt” because the ruling was handed down as they were commemorating the 40th day since his son died.

Oscar said he is planning to appeal the case and will talk to Assistant Prosecutor Lody Tancioco tomorrow to ask her “for their next step.”

A MAKATI CITY ALPHA PHI OMEGA ANTI-HAZING LAW ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR LODY TANCIOCO CITY PROSECUTOR FELICIANO ASPI EDBERT MUYOT GUANLAO INTIA JOHN REYNALD MARIN AND MICHAEL PAGULAYAN JUDGE HONORIO GUANLAO JR. OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH KARL INTIA
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