Six more persons of interest in the case involving the death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig wanted to surrender, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Friday.
“May anim pa na gustong sumuko sa hazing cases,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.
(Six more people want to surrender in the hazing cases.)
When asked why they chose to surrender only now, Remulla cited a lack of lawyers.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta has said that the agency will not help fraternity members linked to the hazing of Salilig due to a conflict of interest since the victim’s family approached them first.
“Kaya itong conflict of interest, 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.
(That’s why we have to work out this conflict of interest; there should, of course, be a limit to the involvement of the PAO so they can also cater to the defendants in cases.)
Since the Justice Department wants PAO to assist everyone, Remulla said that a line should be drawn.
“Kasi kailangan pa rin ng right to counsel (There is a right to counsel). It’s a constitutional right. That’s why it’s— the more paramount mandate of the PAO is to serve as counsel for poor litigants so that the [legal] process will continue,” he said.
On February 28, the body of Salilig, a chemical engineering student, was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite, more than a week after he was last seen alive.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, a witness said that Tau Gamma Phi members decided not to bring Salilig to the hospital after he suffered from a seizure during the fraternity's "welcoming" rites.
Police authorities have filed complaints for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against six individuals linked to the death of Salilig.
The first preliminary investigation hearing on the case will be held at the Department of Justice on Friday. — VBL, GMA Integrated News