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Witnesses in Horacio Castillo slay can get DOJ protection
University of Santo Tomas students light candles for law student Horacio Castillo III during a ceremony at the campus plaza this week. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, file
MANILA, Philippines — All witnesses in the apparent fatal hazing of Horacio Castillo III may be placed government protection.
In a statement, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is willing to admit those who "want to tell the truth or clear their names" into the government's Witness Protection Program.
He warned that those keeping them from coming forward "can be dangerous people with hidden agenda."
The Justice chief stressed that the government "will protect them under the WPP."
The DOJ-run program was established under Republic Act No. 6981, the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act to, “encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals and from economic dislocation.”
The DOJ has also set up a hotline for those who wish to come forward with information on the case. They may contact 0995 442 9241.
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Trangria left for Taiwan on Tuesday
Immigration records show that Ralph Caballes Trangia, one of the primary suspects being eyed by the Manila Police District, has fled the country to Taipei early morning of September 19.
Aguirre has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation, that is currently doing a separate probe on the matter, to coordinate with the Interpol to locate Trangia.
The Justice chief said that he is also seeking for the cancellation of Trangia’s passport.
Aguirre placed Trangia and 15 other members of Aegis Juris Fraternity under the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order. Immigration officers are ordered to inform the Office the Justice Secretary and the Office of the Prosecutor General should any of the following make an attempt to leave the country:
Arvin R. Balag
Mhin Wei Chan
Marc Anthony Ventura
Axel Mundo Hipe
Oliver John Audrey Onofre
Joshua Joriel Macabali
Jason Adolfo Robiños
Ranie Rafael Santiago
Danielle Hans Mattew Rodrigo
Carl Mattew Villanueva
Jose Miguel Salamat
John Paul Solano
Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said that the other 15 do not have records of departing the country.
The lifeless body of Castillo, a first-year law student of the UST, was discovered early Sunday morning in Tondo, Manila.
His parents claimed that Horacio asked permission to attend the welcoming ceremonies of the Aegis Juris Fraternity on Saturday morning. His body, covered in a blanket when found, sustained contusions in the upper arms and candle burn marks.