'Tell me what happened,' Atio Castillo's mother asks frat members

MANILA, Philippines – The parents of 22-year-old Horacio "Atio" Castillo III on Wednesday, October 18, faced 6 Aegis Juris fraternity members present during the morning their son was killed.

Horacio Jr and Carmina Castillo slammed Aegis Juris for not helping the family during the days they were looking for their son. The young Castillo was a freshman law student at the Faculty of Civil Law of the University of Santo Tomas when he died due to hazing injuries sustained during Aegis Juris initiation rites.

Carmina recalled Atio promised them that he would return by lunchtime of Sunday, September 17. She said she had been calling her son since Saturday evening, September 16, but he did not answer or call back.

"I was trying to call him up. He never answered his phone, texts. I was texting those people in the [Aegis Juris fraternity] flyer. I was calling them but nobody was answering. I was already looking for the whereabouts of my son," Carmina said during the second Senate hearing on the death of her son.

The family only found out about the incident past midnight on Monday, September 18, through an anonymous text message. The next thing they knew, they saw Atio in a funeral home.

"Nobody helped. We found out [Monday] at 1 in the morning. Whoever texted me, I found him, sa funeraria, unidentified, so tell me what happened during those times, those days, because you have to answer for all of that," Carmina said, looking at the fraternity members seated across them.

Appeal

The parents also asked the fraternity members to return to them Atio's personal belongings. 

"You have the phone, bring it back. You have the eyeglasses, his watch, bring it back. Those are important things to us. Those were his last things that I want," Carmina said.

Manila Police District Director Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel said in the hearing that based on posts in a Facebook group chat, Aegis Juris member Jose Miguel "Migs" Salamat had Atio's cellphone. (READ: Aegis Juris members intended to cover up killing of Atio Castillo)

"What is most relevant or material to our investigation is the post made by Migs Salamat saying that he was in possession of the cellphone of Atio Castillo at that time when these messages were being exchanged and that according to him, several calls have already been made by the parents of Atio Castillo to that phone and they were hesitant to answer these calls," Coronel said.

During the first hearing on September 25, Horacio Jr denounced how the fraternity treated their son "like an animal."

The father earlier said Atio had big dreams, which their family shared. His aspirations were abruptly ended by violence.

"The boy we had cherished, who brought us so much pride and joy, he had many hopes and dreams. He wanted to be a lawyer, a senator, and even justice of the Supreme Court. We dreamed all of this with him. We are devastated," he earlier said. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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