10 fratmen in Horacio “Atio” Castillo III hazing surrender

Rey Galupo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Less than 24 hours after a Manila regional trial court (RTC) judge issued a warrant for their arrest, 10 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity accused in the hazing death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III showed up at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and turned themselves in yesterday morning.

Mhin Wei Chan, Jose Miguel Salamat, John Robin Ramos, Marcelino Bagtang Jr., Arvin Balag, Ralph Trangia, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, and Hans Matthew Rodrigo were accompanied by their parents and lawyers when they surrendered at around 11 a.m.

Branch 40 Presiding Judge Alfredo Ampuan issued the warrant of arrest Thursday afternoon based on his evaluation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution indicting the respondents.

The fratmen were seen heading to the NBI’s main building but declined to make any statement.

Their parents and respective legal counsels were also mum, except for Macabali’s lawyer, who said that all of the accused voluntarily surrendered.

Prior to their showing up at the NBI, Manila Police District (MPD) spokesman Superintendent Erwin Margarejo called for a press conference to “show the pictures of the accused because arrests will be forthcoming.”

Although surprised, Margarejo said the surrender was a welcome development “because we can now focus on the case and not waste our time hunting them down.”

The MPD is one of the complainants in the Castillo case and is represented by the district’s chief legal counsel Chief Inspector Rico Betic.

During the press conference, NBI Deputy Director for investigation Vicente De Guzman said the fratmen surrendered because “they sensed several persons were circling their respective houses as soon as the news of the issuance of the arrest warrant were flashed on television.”

“Imagine if they did not surrender… they will be up against practically all the law enforcement units of the government,” De Guzman said.

He said the suspects’ parents contacted a “friend” in the NBI connected with the investigation division to help facilitate the surrender. 

The 10 suspects will remain under the custody of the NBI until Ampuan orders their transfer to the city jail. 

Castillo’s parents were not available for comment yesterday.

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