A suspect in the fatal hazing of a law student back in PH

Ralph Trangia escorted by immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Photo ©

ONE of the principal suspects in the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas College of Law student Horacio Castillo III has returned to the country from the United States “to face the allegations and to prove his innocence.”

Ralph Trangia, through his lawyer Rowell Ilagan, issued this statement shortly after he and his mother Rosemarie arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shortly before noon on Monday on board EVA Air flight BR271.

Ilagan said Trangia’s original intention is to go back to the country when he left for the United States last month.

“When they purchased the (plane) ticket, they have the return ticket. So, the purchase of the ticket coupled with the actual return today is actually a clear manifestation that they want to voluntary submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of our legal process,” Ilagan told reporters.

When asked why did Trangia left for the Unites States on early morning of September 19 amid the investigation of the death of Castillo, Ilagan said “those matters will be threshed out during the preliminary investigation. We cannot really say at this moment, so we don’t want to influence directly the decision of the prosecutors.”

“We just want to thresh out all of our defenses in our counter affidavit during the preliminary investigation,” he added.

Ilagan was also asked if there are plans for the Horacio family to meet with the Castillos to which he replied: “We have yet to discuss those things and in the meantime, we want the safety and security of our client.”

Trangia is among the 17 individuals who are facing complaints of murder and violation of the anti-hazing law before the Department of Justice.

Castillo, a freshman law student, is believed to have been a victim of the brutal initiation rites of Trangia’s Aegis Juris fraternity.

The Manila Police Department and the Castillo’s parents, Horacio II and Carmina, have filed murder, anti-hazing, robbery, and obstruction of justice raps against Trangia and other members of the fraternity. They also filed a separate obstruction of justice complaint against his mother.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II disclosed receiving information that “US authorities are preparing to deport him (Trangia). So I believe he opted to return voluntarily rather than be deported.”

Aguirre, however, said the DOJ is willing to offer protection for Trangia “if he asks for it.”

The DOJ will resume its preliminary investigation on October 24, where the respondents are expected to file their defense through counter-affidavits.


Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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