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10 frat men in student’s hazing death charged

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Ten officers and members of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity in this city are facing charges in court for violation of Republic Act 8049 or The Anti-Hazing Law.

City Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron said the respondents were arrested on September 30, 2015 for the death of Anthony Dalmacio Javier during the initiation rites held at the village of Pasonanca in this city.

In a three-page inquest resolution dated Oct. 26, Prosecutor Cabaron identified the frat men as Cyril Guazon Pelinggon, grand triskelion and president of the Tau Gamma Phi-WMSU Chapter; Bryan Alviar Martines, internal and external grand triskelion; Fernando Bongcawel Paluray, associate master initiator; Johnrae Directo Sarte, master keeper of the chest (treasurer); Nathaniel Cepera Tagapon, Ian Harvey Libutan Bangayan, Wendell Stephanne Tabilon Tuvillara, and Rene Bayona Aquines, all students of Western Mindanao State University (WMSU).

Two other respondents, Reynaldo Aguila and Jhenesis Balais, remain at large.

Assisted by their respective lawyers, the respondents signed a waiver of their rights under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, and requested that a preliminary investigation be conducted.

Subpoenas were issued to the respondents, requiring them to submit their respective counter-affidavits and other countervailing evidence.

They received their subpoenas on Monday, Oct. 2, and immediately requested for another 10-day extension but was denied by the court, saying the period was unreasonable and dilatory in nature.

Respondents Pelinggon, Paluray, Sarte, Tagapon, Tuvillara and Aquines, through counsel, filed an urgent omnibus motion dated Oct. 15, questioning their arrest, and prayed to expunge from the record the affidavit of the witness, Jan Eric G. Galvez.

They claimed that the witness was also a suspect and, therefore, the police taking his testimony had committed grievous error as he was not represented by a lawyer during the investigation.

After careful evaluation of the facts and evidence on record of the case, Prosecutor Cabaron found reasonable ground to believe that the respondents violated the Anti-Hazing Law and responsible for Javier’s death.

“They must all be held for trial,” the city prosecutor ordered in the case filed by the victim’s father, Maricel D. Javier.

The suspects are now detained at the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center. (NONOY E. LACSON)