FROM PRAYING TO PADDLING | Watch: Atio Castillo and a chronicle of a fatal hazing rite

October 27, 2017 - 1:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines – On Sept. 16, 2017, before 10 p.m., University of Sto. Tomas law freshman Horacio “Atio” Tomas Castillo III was said to be with members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity. After going to the church, they went to a computer shop on Asturias Street outside UST in Sampaloc, Manila where Atio was supposedly heard memorizing the fraternity hymn.

About nine hours later, Atio — who was raised with love and respect and dreamt of someday becoming the country’s chief justice — became unconscious. He was later declared dead upon arrival at a hospital.

Below is a chronicle of what allegedly happened to the 22-year-old student based on the claims of Aegis Juris member Marc Anthony Ventura, portions of which were based on earlier statements by Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. Ventura was recently placed under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program.

FIRST STAGE OF RECRUITMENT: Frat masters are served by Atio, they subject him to a psywar, they slap him until the fifth day

Atio does errands for fraternity masters in his first three days of initiation. The masters scrutinize their initiate. They ask Atio why he wants to join the brotherhood, what does he like about the fraternity, who urged him to join. They also subject him to psywar.

On the fourth day, the master initiator decides whether fraternity brothers can already slap Atio if they think he does something wrong. The psywar and slapping continue until the fifth day.

PREPARATIONS FOR FINAL INITIATION: Sept. 16, 2017, before midnight, fratmen allegedly mask hazing site as party area

Aegis Juris Fraternity’s library on Navarra corner Laon-Laan Streets outside UST in Sampaloc, Manila is cloaked as a party area. Close to 30 frat brothers are reportedly inside the area. A karaoke machine is brought to the library. They allegedly sing, eat, drink liquor, banter, create noise so they can later drown the noise during the final rites.

Atio joins fratmen at the library. He brings meals for his masters.

Later on, fratmen isolate Atio from the crowd. They allegedly tell him to rest before final rites start.


Final rites begin. Aegis members allegedly gather for a prayer, ask for guidance from above so nothing bad will happen during the hazing.

1ST STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Atio walks like a duck

Atio is fetched by his initiators and told to do stretching exercises. He then does a duckwalk, partially squatting, and is pulled backwards and forward by the masters. He is told to rest afterwards.

2ND STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Masters punch Atio until his arms become black and blue

Masters hit Atio with their fists until his blood vessels burst and his arms turn purple. Atio sings the fraternity hymn as his masters beat him up. There are rest intervals during this stage.

3RD STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Masters again hit Atio with a spatula before he does a song-and-dance number

After three rounds of hitting, masters again beat Atio’s arms with a wooden spatula to even up his swollen skin.

They then tell Atio to rest again before he does the “Baby Shark” song-and-dance number:

Baby Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Mommy Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Daddy Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Grandma Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Grandpa Shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Let’s go hunt, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Run away, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Safe at last, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

It’s the end, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

4TH STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Atio drinks masters’ ‘saliva’

A glass is passed around. Atio sees masters spit inside the glass. What he doesn’t know is there is a second glass containing egg white. Atio is then blindfolded and is told to drink the content of the glass, which he thinks is full with saliva but in fact only contains albumen.

5TH STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Atio takes off his clothes

The light is turned off. Masters tell Atio to remove his clothes. As Atio becomes naked, the light is turned on, then turned off, and on again.

6TH STAGE OF FINAL INITIATION: Before 5 a.m., Sept. 17, 2016, Atio begs, masters hit his fingers

Atio goes around, as if begging with his hands held together. The masters then beat Atio’s fingers using a wooden spatula while he is being indoctrinated by his lords.

The masters then tell Atio to again do stretching and pumping exercises. They order Atio to “hold your balls” before he goes to the next stage of the final initiation.

7TH AND FINAL STAGE OF INITIATION: Atio faints after masters hit him with a paddle past 5 a.m., Sept. 17, 2017

Atio remains responsive, but he already looks exhausted.

Master initiators mark the areas on Atio’s legs where they can beat him using wooden paddles: from the bottom of his ass down to the area above the back of his knees.

Atio is hit five times allegedly by four masters — Axel Hipe, Ralph Trangia, Arvin Balag, and another unidentified initiator. The third whip makes Atio fall on his knees. He manages to still calm down before he receives the fourth hit.

Atio collapses with the fifth blow. Masters call his name, Atio responds with growls.

Masters then sit Atio on a chair. They help him regain his consciousness by making him sniff ammonia. They check his pulse, his breathing. They keep talking to him. Atio still has vital signs but no longer responds.

POST INITIATION: Atio remains unconscious before 6 a.m., Sept 17, 2017

Initiators get nervous. But Aegis’ top leader, whom Ventura claims is Balag, and who is called Grand Praefectus or GP tell them not to panic and let Atio rest for a while.

After 20 minutes, Atio remains unconscious. GP is seen allegedly calling someone on his cellphone and then tells his frat brothers to rouse Atio by dripping candle wax on his feet and chest. Still, there’s no response from Atio.

POST INITIATION: Around 6 a.m., Sept. 17, master does CPR on Atio before he’s taken to the hospital

The masters panic. One of them is supposedly heard as saying that Atio should be rushed to the hospital. But Balag allegedly hesitates at first because he’s supposedly afraid that others will know about the hazing incident. After a minute of discussion, the GP allegedly agrees to bring Atio to the hospital.

Then the GP is allegedly seen leaving to fetch his driver and his car. Trangia also allegedly leaves to get a car. The latter comes back with a red pickup where Atio was supposedly loaded.

The GP comes back, Balag allegedly tells his frat brothers to unload Atio from the pickup because he has already talked to another person who can help them.

Hipe allegedly does CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Atio, who then vomits before he’s taken to the Chinese General Hospital on Blumentritt Road in Sampaloc, Manila where he was declared dead on arrival.