CA orders trial of 5 fratmen in student’s fatal hazing


The Court of Appeals (CA) has reversed a ruling of the Makati City regional trial court (RTC) that dismissed the criminal case filed against five Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity members who were charged with the fatal hazing of a student of the College of Saint Benilde in 2014.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro Javier, the CA directed the Makati RTC to proceed with the trial of Daniel Paul Martin Bautista, Vic Angelo Dy, Michael David Castaneda, Francisco Joel Villegas, and Justin Francis Reyes for the death of Guillo Cesar Servando.

Servando died after the initiation rites in June 2014 at One Archer’s Place Condominium. A video footage from the CCTV showed Servando collapsing along the hallway and being carried away by fraternity members.

After its probe, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed criminal charges against 20 Tau Gamma Fraternity members for violation of Republic Act No. 8049, the Anti-Hazing Act of 1995.

Case records showed that during the Dec. 10, 2015 hearing, the prosecution witnesses did not appear in court. On the same day, the court issued notices to the witnesses to explain their absence.

Five days later on the second day of hearing on Dec. 15, 2015, the witnesses again failed to appear prompting the prosecution to ask the court for the issuance of arrest orders against them. The court denied the prosecution’s plea.

But on Dec. 17, 2015, the trial court granted the respondents’ plea to dismiss the case on the ground of their right to speedy trial.

In granting the petition of the prosecution, the CA said there was haste in the dismissal of the complaint by the trial court.