February 25, 2018, 3:43 am
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SC starts disbarment process vs Aegis lawyers

THE Supreme Court en banc has started disbarment proceedings against Nilo Divina, dean of the University of Sto. Tomas College of Law, and 20 other lawyers belonging to Aegis Juris fraternity in connection with the fatal hazing of UST law freshman Horacio Tomas Castillo III in September last year.

In a resolution dated February 6, which was released to media by the office of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday, the SC sked the respondents to comment on the complaint within 10 days from notice.

The SC was acting on a January 31 letter of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, recommending the disbarment proceedings.

Lacson’s panel last month recommended immediate disciplinary action or disbarment of Divina and the other fraternity alumni -- Marvi Abo, Alston Kevin Anarna, Edzel Bert Canlas, Cecilio Jimeno, Ferdinand Rogelio, Eric Fuentes, Cesar Ocampo Ona, Gaile Dante Acuzar Caraan, Gem Dimaculangan, Alfonso  Verzosa, Henry Pablo Jr., Jet dela Peña Villaroman, Cesar dela Fuente, Niño Kjell Servañez, Manuel Angelo Ventura III, Michael Vito, Arthur Capili, Irvin Joseph Fabella, Edwin Uy, and Allan Christopher Agati.

“With all due respect to the power of the (SC) to discipline members of the Philippine Bar, this committee recommends the immediate institution of proper disciplinary or disbarment proceedings,” the committee report said.

“Although we recognize the number of disbarment cases pending before the Supreme Court, it is humbly requested that the issue at hand be given preference and be dealt with as soon as possible considering that another life was lost because of the barbaric practices of the fraternity,” the report also said.

Divina earlier said he has long been inactive in the fraternity and that he took a leave of absence since he assumed deanship in 2009.

But the committee said there are photos that show his “active participation” during fraternity anniversaries and his “discretionary acts before and even after Castillo’s death. – JP Lopez
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