Fratmen’s “cover-up attempt” revealed through a group chat presented in Senate

UNTV News   •   October 18, 2017   •   6959

Arvin Balag


MANILA, Philippines – For the first time since the tragic death by hazing of UST Law student Horacio Castillo III, members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity allegedly involved in the crime, faced the Senate’s joint public hearing, Wednesday.

They are Arvin Balag, the president of the Aegis Juris Fraternity; OJ Onofre, the one who called Solano to respond to the medical needs of Atio; Axel Hipe, the alleged recruiter of the group; and Ralph Trangia, the owner of the vehicle used to transport the then half dead Atio to hospital.

Manila Police District or MDP Head C/Supt. Joel Coronel presented during the hearing the online chat exchanges between the leaders and members of the fraternity from September 17 to 18. Based on the transcript, the group was discussing an attempt to do a cover-up and a plan to evade the liabilities they might face for the death of Atio.

The MPD also presented CCTV footage inside an elevator at the Novotel where the fratmen held a meeting to discuss the steps they would undertake regarding the incident.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said that, what the MPD presented are strong pieces of evidence against the Aegis Juris Fraternity members.

“It will assist the prosecutors and even the MPD in their investigation . . .  it’s unbecoming of their lawyers that they the are the ones doing the cover-up,” Lacson said.

During the Senate inquiry, the statement of John Paul Solano during a September 25 executive session was also read where he stated the sequence of events that happened on the 17th of September.

In the entire course of the hearing, the fraternity members had not answered the questions of the senators but just invoked their right against self- incrimination.

This irked the legislators and even prompted Senator Grace Poe to cite Balag in contempt , which was immediately approved by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the chairman of the joint hearing.

Balag, later on, appealed to lift the decision.

“I would like to apologize for my earlier statements and asking if my contempt be lifted . . . Yes, I’m a member but as to the incumbent presidency, I’m already in another school. I’m already in Lyceum College of Law since August..,” Arvin Balag said.

But when asked who decided to bring Atio to the Chinese General Hospital and not to the UST Hospital near the Aegis Juris Fraternity Office, Balag said, “As to that question I will invoke my right to self incrimination.”

To which Sen. Joel Villanueva responded, “Then your contempt will remain.”

This was promptly endorsed by Sen. Lacson who said, “The motion is carried. Sargeant at Arms, after this hearing you place him under detention.”

“You already have that kind of thinking at a young age, how much more when you become an adult? The motto of your fraternity is ‘Do no injustice, suffer no injustice’. You are doing injustice to your fellow schoolmate, fratmate, brother by not answering these questions. Atio’s parents are even here. You just have to answer a simple question. But if you don’t want, then it’s up to you to choose your fate,” Sen. Poe said.

It was also revealed that the Aegis Juris Fraternity broke its own call to its members to talk and help in the investigation.

According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the members abused the use of their right against self- incrimination.

Meanwhile, University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina denied having a hand in the death of Atio.

“I have no liability, I have no capability to establish that I had no prior knowledge of the incident and I was not party to any cover up. There’s no way I could be made liable,” Divina said.

The parents of Atio hope that Solano will continue cooperating with authorities so they could attain justice in the death of their son.

“The case is now advancing with the Senate hearing. There are a lot of revelations already. So I think our case against them is getting stronger,” Atio’s father, Horacio Castillo II said.

“No one comes to us not even to offer help from them, none,” he added. “We also feel pity for them because their lives are over. You think they are set to become lawyers? No longer. Their lives are over,”

The Castillo couple also requested for the fraternity members to return the personal items of their son like his cell phone, eyeglasses, and watch, saying those are the only things left of Atio that they can return to them. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

MPD probes 25 Chinese nationals in foiled attempts to get COVID jabs

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Police District (MPD) is investigating 25 Chinese nationals who allegedly attempted to get coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine shots by presenting dubious medical certificates in various vaccination sites in the city.

MPD Chief BGen Leo Francisco said they are still evaluating if the medical certificates were authentic or not.

Based on MPD’s spot report released on Sunday (April 4), 19 Chinese were questioned in Ermita Station and six others in Tondo trying to get vaccinated using questionable medical certificates.

Francisco said some of the Chinese were tourists who don’t speak Filipino or English and are not from Manila.

However, Francisco said they are still evaluating if the medical certificates presented were authentic or not.

He said the Chinese nationals registered via Manila’s and got QR (quick response) codes.

Francisco said the Manila Health Department (MHD) asked for police assistance.

On Monday, the MPD sent letters to the Chinese Embassy and to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to ask for more information about the apprehended Chinese nationals.

A letter was also sent to the Professional Regulation Commission to get details on the signatory in the medical certificates.

MPD arrests 6 Chinese, 3 Filipinos for fake certificate during COVID-19 vaccination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Police District (MPD) has arrested six Chinese nationals and three Filipinos for presenting fake medical certificates during vaccination for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Sunday (April 4), local authorities accosted the said individuals for their fake medical certificates during a vaccination rollout in Sergio Osmeña High School Gagalangin Tondo, Manila.

The police identified the six Chinese nationals as Shi Jialiang, 34 years old; Dong Cai Y Yang, 48 years old; Manuel Chan Y Ong, 49 years old; Jessebele Ong Chan Chua, 43 years old; Hong Hong Yi, and Hing Yuen. 

Meanwhile, the three Filipinos were identified as Aune Loresto, 19 years old; Jolina Deonila, 19 years old; and Deolita Malguita Jr., 27 years old.

Local authorities say the individuals were brought to Police Station 1 Investigation Section for proper disposition. AAC

Poe calls Bayanihan 3 an ’empty promise’ without appropriate funds

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Grace Poe expressed concern that the proposed Bayanihan 3 may end up as an empty promise if lacks appropriate funds.

Poe previously asked where will Bayanihan 3 get its funding after House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco filed it to continue the government’s response amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Senator agrees with any initiative that will help the people reeling from this pandemic, however, she stressed there is a need to determine how the Bayanihan 3 will get its funds.

“How are we going to source it, where are we going to spend it? We have to know the real score so that we will not make empty promises to the people,” she said.

She added that passing new taxes to fund the measure may not be feasible, citing the backlash from the recent hearings on the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs).

Poe said, the public should also know how the Bayanihan 2 funds are being used.

“Let us consider that Bayanihan 2 was extended, therefore, we still need to get a proper accounting of what was spent in Bayanihan 2—if there are any savings or deficit,” she said. AAC


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