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Fraternal killers

By: Jullie Y. Daza

WHAT is it about law frats – they who would be lawyers, for goodness sake – that their members turn into brutes when they initiate their neophytes?

Over the years, with the police recording 300-plus cases of hazing incidents that left a dozen dead, including students from the most expensive law schools, the torturing and killing have not abated. The law merely regulates this rite of passage but does not make it illegal; hazing may be criminal but only if the offenders are caught.

In the latest example of a ritual killing, Horacio “Atio” Castillo III was subjected to horrendous pain from beating until his heart gave up. He was a freshman in the University of Sto. Tomas, whom his classmates tearfully described as a likeable guy who was always ready with a smile or a helping hand.

On his first birthday, his father gave Atio a kid-size Mercedes Benz, better than a toy but not for use out on the street. Last July, his uncle, Dr. Gerry Castillo, fulfilled his promise to give him a real Benz as reward for his admission into the Faculty of Civil Law.

Dr. Gerry was the last member of the family to see Atio alive Saturday the 16th, when he left their house in San Lorenzo, Makati to meet up with his masters. (The fraternity house is a private library not far from the university.)

At the wake in the church in Forbes Park two nights ago, Dr. Gerry’s and Atio’s pet, a golden retriever by the name of Lega, stood on her hind legs and rested her paws on top of Atio’s casket. Immediately the picture went viral. Dogs can be more human than some humans.

As Atio’s family wait for the killers and their cohorts to surrender or be arrested, his mother sounded this heart-rending appeal: “I want to look at you. Tell me how Atio died, what did he say…”

Dr. Gerry thanked the Manila police for their help “every step of the way.”

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