THE Public Attorney's Office (PAO) said on Wednesday that criminal charges have been filed before the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office against seven suspects in the death of a student of the University of Cebu last year.
The victim, 20-year-old marine engineering student Ronnel Baguio, died allegedly in a fraternity hazing.
PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta told The Manila Times that the suspects, including a university instructor and three students, are all members of Tau Gamma Phi.
Police records showed that the alleged initiation rites took place on Dec. 10, 2022, at a house on the corner of Cabreros and L. Gabuya Streets, Barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City.
Baguio died at a local hospital nine days later due to severe body injuries he allegedly sustained during the fraternity initiation rites, PAO said.
PAO-Forensics Division director Dr. Erwin Erfe said that based on the autopsy report, the victim's cause of death was acute kidney injury secondary to rhabdomyolysis secondary to blunt traumatic injuries to the lower extremities.
“Obviously, the victim died due to severe injuries he sustained, possibly from massive and constant paddling and [and by being hit by] any other hard objects,” Erfe said.
The PAO submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the victim's cellular phone that contained text conversations between the deceased and a frat member before the fatal incident transpired.
“I learned that one of the policemen there was also a member of the Tau Gamma Phi. That is why I refused to turn it over to them and now it was already with the NBI which is also conducting a full investigation,” Leny Baguio, 38, the victim's mother said in Filipino.
The same fraternity was involved in the fatal hazing of 24-year-old John Matthew Salilig, a chemistry junior at the Adamson University, whose body was found last month in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite after attending initiation rites in Biñan City.
“We will maximize our resources, we will not stop until the perpetrators behind these hazing incidents are arrested and jailed,” Rueda-Acosta said.
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