RIP horacio castillo

At 7:20am last Sunday, as the sun rose over the slowly rousing city, a body was found on the streets of Tondo, Manila. Wrapped in a blanket, covered in bruises and burn marks, the body was rushed to Chinese General Hospital by a Good Samaritan, a medical technologist named John Sarte who was out buying cigarettes. He was identified as a 22-year-old law student named Horacio Castillo III, declared dead on arrival at 9:21am.

On Sunday night, Horacio Castillo, Jr. and his wife Carmina received a text message from Chinese General, and their world came crashing down.

Slowly, the story came out. “Atyo”, as he was known to his family, was recruited by the Aegis Juris Fraternity. He was a freshman law student at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, having just graduated from the school’s AB Political Science program (incidentally, the same baccalaureate degree that I graduated with). On Saturday night, Horacio asked his parents for permission to spend the night at UST, where welcome rites for Aegis Juris would be conducted. The fraternity is recognized by the University itself, and the Dean of the Faculty of Civil Law, Atty. Nilo Divina, is a member.

I won’t go into the evils of violent hazing rituals. As someone who belongs to a sorority and is part of the affiliation culture, I feel unqualified to discuss initiation rites, and I certainly don’t want to be accused of hypocrisy. Instead, what I’m going to talk about right now is the rampant victim-blaming that seems to be happening in the wake of Horacio Castillo’s death.

It’s a comment sentiment that’s cropping up amongst netizens, especially parents. “What do you expect, joining a frat?” Or, “It’s just asking for something to happen to you.”

Sound familiar?

Yes, my fellow feminists, it’s our old friend: victim-blaming.

Truth is, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a sense of belongingness. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a network and connections outside of law school. Yes, there are other ways of surviving law school, but sari-sariling diskarte lang yan (I can’t think of an appropriate English translation for this phrase – it means something like it’s up to each and every person how they handle things). We have no right to judge how Horacio Castillo wanted to make his law school journey.

These things people are saying about Horacio Castillo are no different from people saying that a girl in a short skirt walking down a dark street deserved to get raped.

Saying that Horacio Castillo shouldn’t have joined a frat in the first place puts the onus on victims to avoid becoming victims; when in reality, the onus should be on the fraternities to provide a safe, sane initiation for their neophytes.

Horacio Castillo was not at fault for wanting to become a brod.

Aegis Juris is at fault for killing him.

Let’s not lose sight of that.

Rest in peace, Horacio Castillo III. The world is less bright without you in it.


16 thoughts on “#HustisyaKayHoracio

  1. And the fact that he was found left to die on some random pavement? Why didn’t they just bring him to the hospital?! 😦 I’ve heard frats bringing their members to hospitals after rites, so why the heck leave him there. Or ako lang ba tong nagiisip non? Nakakainis 😥 senseless and unnecessary deaths are so common these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s this news article saying that the man who brought Horacio to the hospital is now a person of interest. The police reviews the CCTV footage and found no evidence of a body being dumped at the street where John Sarte said he found him, so baka fratman tong si John Sarte and dinala si Horacio sa hospital? Sabi daw UST Law din siya eh. Not sure.

      Everything is so sad. Grabe. I tried watching the interview of Horacio’s parents and had to turn it off kasi di ko kaya pakinggan yung iyak ng nanay niya.

      Liked by 2 people


        I try avoiding the tv and radio for news, di ko kaya yung stress. Super affected ako agad sa mga bagay bagay tapos nagooverthink na ako na baka matokhang or mapatay din ako huhu shet ang morbid na haha 😥


      1. hindi ko masyadong nakakapanood ng balita. though parang kaninang umaga may nakakulong, sabi ng asawa ko baka sacrificial lamb lang yung nakakulong para hindi hulihin yung mga totoong masterminds.


  2. Husband and I were talking about this over dinner. Bilang parents, malaman lang namin may nanakit sa anak namin, galit na kami. Paano pa yung dumaan sa hazing at pagkatapos namatay. 😭 pero may mga mabuting naidudulot din naman ng frat sa isang estudyante at sa future nya bilang member. Ang lungkot lang na kampante naman ang parents sa sinalihan tapos ganun ang nangyari.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Galit ako. Sobrang galit ako sa balitang ‘to nung nabalitaan ko.

    Ang matino at maayos na pagkakaibigan o “brotherhood” ay never dadaan sa ganitong paraan. THAT IS NOT HOW FRIENDSHIP WORKS.

    May nabasa pa ako na kaya kampate raw si Hor sa pagsali sa frat na ‘to kasi nga ‘yung Dean nila is member rin dito. Sigurado daw siyang walang hazing. Tapos ganyan nalang ‘yung mangyayari. I heard members are also deactivating their socmed accounts ater nung nangyari. NakakaGALIT. How dare they call themselves future lawyers, mga hayop.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry Kate but I really don’t understand why anyone would want to join fraternities or sororities. I feel like it doesn’t help you. It’s like a cool barkada na payabangan lang ang alam. “Member ako ng ganyan ganung frat pasapak kita sa brad ko eh” feels lagi for me yang mga ganyan. I know its judgmental but I have yet to hear a good thing that has come out of being a member of one besides the obvious connections reason.

    And since the dean is also a member of the said fraternity what do you think will happen when the fraternity decides to use their connection to try and make this issue go away? (I don’t know if that’s possible but anything is, lol)

    I’m not victim blaming here. I just think that everyone should think a million times before doing something – before joining a frat or before wearing a short dress – and be ready for ALL the possible consequences of their actions. What happened is not okay. It’s very unfortunate that someone had to die.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All due respect, but the reason why you don’t understand why anyone would want to join a frat or a soro is because you’re not in the legal world (of course, I can’t speak for frats and soros outside of law school, but anyway since Horacio was a law student, I’ll frame my comment in the context of legal-based affiliations). Don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely possible to survive and become a lawyer even without an affiliation, but it’s an undeniable truth that being in an affiliation gives you a huge leg up. It is DEFINITELY something that the legal profession needs to change about itself, admittedly. I hate the fact that frats have that culture, that brods would protect each other against all odds even at the expense of morality and decency. Beyond reviewing university policies about affiliations and the implemented laws, that culture itself needs to change, or even be eradicated completely. The legal world itself needs to remove that mindset. But the fact is, right now, it’s there. And as long as it’s there, there are going to be law students who will want to join.

      To be fair to Dean Divina though, he seems to be cooperating with the police. Last I read on the news, he facilitated the surrender of a couple of members of the frat to the police. I don’t have any further info on the progress of the case though, so it’s just a matter of wait and see. Although, like everyone else, I’m hoping and praying that justice will be served.

      “be ready for ALL the possible consequences of their actions” — There’s a legal concept that I want to talk about which is analogous to what I think you’re trying to get at. It’s called ‘assumption of risk’. Basically, the injured party must know and be aware of any and all attending risks of an action he is about to undertake. I suppose that’s what you mean when you say everyone should think a million times before doing something. But the thing there is, death is not a legally, socially, or morally acceptable result of any risky undertaking done by an injured party. Not to mention, there is an added element of betrayed trust because the frat in question has always been particularly vocal about their stance against frat-related violence. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that even though you don’t agree with joining an affiliation, I would still avoid saying anything that would even remotely hint at notions like “expecting outcomes” and “thinking twice” in the wake of a death.

      TL;DR – Horacio joined Aegis Juris because he was assured that they weren’t like other frats and was, to the utter heartbreak and outrage of all who knew him, sadly mistaken.


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