Six more persons of interest in the hazing death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig want to surrender, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Friday.
At the same time, Remulla said there was a conflict of interest because the Public Attorney’s Office said it would not help fraternity members linked to the hazing because the family of the victim had approached them first.
“We have to work it out that there should, of course, be a limit [to] the involvement of the PAO so they can also cater to the defendants in cases,” Remulla said.
He said the defendants had a right to counsel.
“It’s a constitutional right,” he said.
“That’s why… the more paramount mandate of the PAO is to serve as counsel for poor litigants so the process will continue,” he added.
On Feb. 28, the body of Salilig was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite, 10 days after he was reported missing.
Police authorities have filed complaints for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against six persons linked to the hazing death.
Meanwhile, the mother of another hazing victim of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity sought the help of the PAO.
At a media briefing, PAO chief Persida Acosta presented MarycarhRabutazo, 42, of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, who said her son Reymarc, 18, died after the hazing on March 20, 2022.
“This is another victim of hazing. The mother said her son left their house on March 19 last year just to visit his grandmother, but little did she know that he went to the initiation rites,” Acosta said.
While a case of violation of the Anti-Hazing Act was filed against 12 fraternity members after their arrest, three others are still at large, Persida said.
Also on Friday, the 39-year-old mother of another hazing victim from the University of Cebu welcomed the recent surrender of four suspects.
“With this new development, we hope that the case will prosper,” Leny Baguio told the Standard.
On March 9, four of the suspects who were allegedly involved in the death of Ronnel Baguio, 20, surrendered to the Cebu police.
John Patrick Umpad, the lawyer who assisted the suspects during thesurrender, said the four men are willing to cooperate in the investigation, and to narrate the degree of their participation during the hazing incident involving the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity on Dec. 10.
Lt. Col. Ma. Theresa Macatangay, spokesperson of the Cebu City Police Office, said the surrender of the suspects was due to the coordination between the police and officers of Tau Gamma Phi.