MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The 10 Aegis Juris fraternity members charged with hazing in the death of law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III were transferred from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to the Manila City Jail on Wednesday, May 23.
Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi Umali ordered the transfer late Tuesday afternoon, May 22.
Parents of the fratmen earlier appealed to the court to keep their sons in the custody of the NBI, citing the supposed lack of "objectivity and independence" of the Manila Police District (MPD), which acted as one of the complainants.
Fratman Ralph Trangia also said in a motion that "it would only take a paltry sum of money for anyone at the Manila City Jail to have accused killed inside the Manila City Jail."
Other fratmen cited the congestion of the city jail, as well as the "incorrigible and hardcore" criminals there which would "make their transfer to the said facility as detrimental to their personal growth and development being of frail age."
Why the transfer?
In her order, Umali simply cited the rules of criminal procedure which state that an arrested person should be brought to the "nearest police station or jail."
"The NBI detention center is neither a police station nor a jail," the judge said.
On the allegation that the MPD poses threats to the men's safety, Umali pointed out that it is the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) which runs the Manila City Jail.
"The BJMP is not under the jurisdiction of the MPD. Thus, it does not take orders from the MPD," the judge said.
Umali also issued a separate order for the Manila City Jail warden to bring the 10 fratmen to the court on July 24 for their arraignment.