THE Department of Justice has given hazing death suspects until Jan. 22 to refute the testimony of their fellow fraternity member who has since turned state witness.
This, after the government prosecutors admitted Friday the testimony of hazing suspect-turned-witness Marc Anthony Ventura in the hazing death case of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
This came after Ventura subscribed to his sworn statement before the DoJ’s panel of prosecutors during the reopening on Friday of the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaints arising from Castillo’s death.
Prosecutors set the filing of counter-affidavits by the respondents and clarificatory hearing in relation to Ventura’s affidavit on Jan. 22.
Ventura, admitted to the DoJ’s Witness Protection Program on Oct. 24, earlier claimed how his fraternity brothers took turns beating up Castillo inside the Aegis Juris library in Sampaloc, Manila in the wee hours of Sept. 17.
The witness also identified some of Aegis Juris members who took part in the initiation.
However, Paterno Esmaquel, counsel for respondent John Paul Solano, interposed objection to the re-opening of the probe, arguing the preliminary investigation had been submitted for resolution last November.
Pending before the DoJ are the complaints for murder, violation of the Anti-Hazing Law, obstruction of justice, robbery and perjury separately filed by the Manila Police District and Castillo’s parents against more than 30 people, most of them members of the fraternity.