The parents of University of Santo Tomas freshman law student and hazing victim Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo III on Tuesday said they were hopeful the investigation into their son’s death would make headway now that suspect and Aegis Juris Fraternity officer Ralph Trangia is back in the country.
Trangia flew to Chicago, Illinois after Castillo died due to hazing-related injuries. He died after he was brought to the Chinese General Hospital, hours after he collapsed during the hazing rites conducted inside the Aegis Juris Fraternity library in Sampaloc, Manila.
Atio’s parents believed that Trangia could help shed light on the events that led to their son’s death.
“He can face his charges. He can tell us the truth kung ano talaga ang nangyari sa anak namin para we can all know what happened. Makita natin ‘yung katotohanan,” said Atio’s mother, Carminia, in a television interview.
“Coping is very hard,” Atio’s father, Horacio Jr. said.
“Kasi we have to live with the fact na hindi na namin siya makikita for the rest of our lives. You know, we miss him a lot. So… coping, we just cope day by day,” said Horacio Jr.
Atio’s parents were also undecided if they were in favor of Trangia becoming a state witness.
“Depende po sa statement niya. What he has to say,” the parents said.
“Dapat mayroong substance ‘yung kaniyang sasabihin. So dapat may new leads. Dapat ma-identify talaga who are the guilty ones,” Horacio Jr. explained.
The Castillo couple also said it was still too soon to say whether anyone else would come forward with the truth.
“Right now? Well hindi ko masasabi kung may tumutulong. But it seems like, nasaan sila? All of them. ‘Di ba? All of them,” they said.
The Castillo family was also wondered why police investigators were not rounding up suspects faster than they should.
“Why is it so hard for the whole police force to look for them?” they asked.
Ralph Trangia is facing murder, robbery and Anti-Hazing Law charges over the fatal hazing incident.
And because Castillo was brought to the Chinese General Hospital in a red Strada pick-up truck believed to be registered to Antonio Trangia, Ralph’s father, the elder Trangia is facing the same charges.
Manila Police District (MPD) Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said there are 20 identified members of Aegis Juris Fraternity, which include Ralph Trangia, who are facing murder charges.
Around 15 others still unidentifed, including some sorority members.
This would bring to about 35 principal suspects who are now facing criminal charges.
Ralph’s mother, Rosemarie, was also slapped with an obstruction of justice complaint aftrt she and her son were seen catching a flight together to Chicago during the wee hours of September 19.
Tat his, according to Atio’s mother, was proof that Trangia was trying to escape.
“He’s (Ralph Trangia) trying to escape. You can buy a ticket but you must have a return date. You cannot buy a ticket one way. I don’t know his plans but clearly he’s trying to escape,” Carminia Castillo said in another television interview.
Carminia said she believed what prompted Trangia and his mother, Rosemarie, to return to the country on Tuesday was “pressure put on the family.”
The young, along with several others, were put on the immigration lookout bulletin.
Aguirre said Ralph is a “potential witness,” depending on what he would tell the investigators.
“While he may be a suspect as of the moment, depending on what he will tell our investigators, he could be a potential witness. And for this reason, the DOJ offers to him and to his family, the protection of our Witness Protection Program (WPP),” Aguirre said.
“I encourage Mr. Trangia and his family to fully cooperate and tell the truth and, as a future lawyer, to work for justice,” Aguirre added.
Aguirre reiterated the DOJ’s invitation to anyone who knows anything about what happened to Atio to come forward and to tell the truth.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered Coronel to hunt down the 35 suspects and bring justice to the Castillo family.