ONE of the accused in the hazing death of freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III has sought his temporary release from incarceration before the Manila regional trial court amid the COVID-19 outbreak now sweeping the country and across the globe.
In an urgent motion for temporary release on humanitarian ground and under recognizance, accused Mhin Wei Chan cited as one of his bases for his motion filed before Branch 20 the overcrowded Manila City Jail (MCJ) as "perfect nesting place" for COVID-19.
"Such situation puts the life and health of herein accused in danger. His prolonged exposure to fellow inmates... can only aggravate their situation. It will be the height of injustice if we stand by and wait for COVID-19 to spread and infect hundreds or even thousands of inmates at MCJ which considering their overpopulation, is a very possible consequence, " Chan's motion read.
He also cited the recommendation of the House Committee on Justice underscoring the need to grant provisional liberty to detainees in highly congested jails pursuant to Republic Act 10389, which institutionalizes recognizance.
Chan assured the Manila RTC that he won't abscond once released from MCJ, citing his voluntary surrender to the National Bureau of Investigation immediately after the warrant of arrest was issued against him and his fellow accused.
The Manila RTC has denied the petition for bail filed by 10 Aegis Juris fratmen - Chan included - tagged in the hazing death of "Atio".
In an order dated December 10, 2019, Manila RTC Branch 20 Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali stressed the evidence of guilt against them was strong.
Denied bail were Arvin Balag, Chan, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Marcelino Bagtang, and Danielle Hans Matthew.