THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) has declared that it will no longer officially recognize fraternities, sororities, and other similar organizations in an anti-hazing move following the death of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, according to a memorandum signed by Office for Student Affairs (OSA) Director Ma. Socorro S. Guan Hing.
”In light of the recent incident involving the hazing death of a law student and in keeping with the duty of the University to take proactive steps to protect the students from the danger of participating in activities that will involve hazing, the University has decided to suspend the recognition of all Fraternities, Sororities, or similar organizations effective at the start of A.Y. (Academic Year) 2018-2019 until further notice,” read the memorandum dated May 21 and released to media on Wednesday.
”Accordingly, all fraternities, sororities or similar organizations are directed to cease and desist from recruiting students or engaging in any kind of activities,” the statement read.
The memorandum also told students “not to join fraternities, sororities, or any unrecognized student organizations.”
The 22-year-old Mr. Castillo was brought lifeless by his fellow members of the Aegis Juris fraternity to the Chinese General Hospital on Sept. 17, 2017, after he became unconscious from participating in the group’s initiation rite.
UST expelled eight law students for violating the university’s Code of Conduct and Discipline last Feb. 18.
Ten of Mr. Castillo’s alleged killers and fraternity brothers surrendered themselves to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on March 23.
Citing safety concerns, accused Min Wei Chan, Jose Miguel Salamat, John Robin G. Ramos, Marcelino Bagtang, Jr., Arvin A. Balag, Ralph Trangia, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali and Hans Matthew Rodrigo requested to be put under the custody of the NBI and not the Manila Police District (MPD.)
The judge holding their case, Presiding Judge Alfredo D. Ampuan of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20, however, denied their request and ordered the NBI to transfer them to the Manila City Jail (MCJ) on Tuesday, May 22.
On the same day, their scheduled arraignment was moved to July 24 to allow the petitions of review submitted by some of the accused to be processed.
They were handed over by the NBI to the warden of the MCJ on Wednesday afternoon.
When asked if they were given any preferential treatment during their stay at the NBI detention center, agency spokesperson Nicanor V. Suarez told BusinessWorld, “definitely none.” — Dane Angelo M. Enerio