Justice for Atio will soon be served, Duterte tells Rizal descendants

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) — The hazing death case of Horacio "Atio" Castillo, a descendant of national hero Jose Rizal, will be resolved soon.

This was President Rodrigo Duterte's promise to Atio's uncle Gerardo on the sidelines of the Rizal Day celebration in Rizal Park on Saturday.

"He assured the family that the resolution would come out very soon. Actually, Atio is the great-great-grandson of Jose Rizal," the elder Castillo said.

He said the President promised the Justice Department's decision will come out on the first week of January.

Atio belongs to the sixth generation of Rizal's descendants – his father is the great grandson of Soledad Alonso Rizal, the youngest of Rizal's siblings.

Atio, a 22-year-old freshman University of Sto. Tomas law student, was killed after a supposed "welcoming party" or hazing rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity on September 16.  His parents said he promised to come back on September 17, Sunday. But he never did.

Police said the cause of death was "severe blunt traumatic injuries." They added Atio had hematoma or bruises on both upper arms, as well as marks of candle wax drips all over his body.

His death has spurred calls for stricter anti-hazing measures in the country, with the Senate launching several legislative hearings.

The Justice Department began its probe on October 4. It said there are 42 respondents in the case, including members, officials, and alumni of the fraternity.

READ: Timeline: The case of Horacio Castillo III

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.