March 22, 2018, 8:07 am
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Police list 3 suspects in UST student hazing death

FROM being a person of interest, the “good Samaritan” who brought Horacio Tomas Castillo III to the Chinese General Hospital last Sunday is now a principal suspect in the hazing death of the UST law student, according to Manila Police District chief Joel Coronel.

Coronel added that aside from John Paul Solano, two others – Antonio Trangia and his son, Ralph Trangia – are also considered principal suspects in the case.

Coronel said they were able to determine that Castillo’s “motionless body” was brought to the CGH in a red Mitsubishi Strada with plate number ZTV 539, which is registered to Antonio.

“So both persons Mr. Antonio Trangia and Ralph Trangia are now possible suspects also, and manhunt operations will be undertaken to effect their immediate arrest and the recovery of the motor vehicle,” Coronel said.

Solano, 21, claimed that he found the body of Castillo wrapped in a blanket at Honorio Lopez Blvd. and Infanta St. in Balut, Tondo on Sunday morning. He claimed he hailed several vehicles until a red Mitsubishi Strada stopped and helped him bring Castillo to the CGH. He also claimed he did not know Castillo.

Investigators, however, have discovered that Solano is also a UST law student, according to workers at the San Lazaro Hospital, where he is a part-time medical technologist.

Castillo told his parents that he would attend the welcoming rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity at the UST campus late Saturday. Hours later, his bloated body which bore bruises, cigarette and candle wax burns, which the police said were caused by hazing, was allegedly found by Solano.

Solano’s claims, however, were contradicted by barangay officials in the area where Castillo was supposedly found. They claimed that no body was seen in the area according to CCTV footage.

“So clearly as you can see as a result of our investigation, Mr. John Paul Solano together with assistance and cooperation of Mr. Antonio Trangia and Ralph Trangia deliberately misled our investigation in the death of Horacio Castillo by providing us false and fraudulent statements concerning the discovery of Mr. Castillo in Balut, Tondo which we feel was a cover up for the actual murder and killing of the victim,” Coronel said.

Coronel also showed a CCTV footage showing Solano, 22, in the company of Castillo while the latter was still alive. The footage shows Castillo, Solano, and other Aegis Juris members walking along Antonio-Dapitan Streets outside the UST campus.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said 16 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity who may have a hand in the death of Castillo were put on the immigration lookout. 

“The names in the Order were provided to Undersecretary Erickson Balmes of the Department Of Justice by police investigators who were investigating the incident last night,” Aguirre.

Aside from Solano, also on the lookout list were Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Marc Anthony Ventura, Axel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Jason Adolfo Robiños, Ralph Trangia, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Danielle Hans Mattew Rodrigo, Carl Mattew Villanueva, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro, and Jose Miguel Salamat.

Hipe was Castillo’s last caller as registered on the law student’s phone, according to the Castillo family.

“As you can see, we have strong evidence that Mr. John Paul Solano deliberately, intentionally and maliciously gave false statements to the Manila Police District relative to the investigation of the Horacio Castillo killing,” Coronel said, adding at least eight officers of the Aegis Juris fraternity currently enrolled at UST are also suspects.

“At this time I can say that all officers of the Aegis Juris fraternity currently enrolled are considered suspects which is also provided under the anti-hazing law wherein officers of fraternities or organizations are to be held liable in the event that incidents such as this will take place, so they are already considered as suspects,” he said.

Coronel said probers have “strong and solid leads” to the identities of other suspects.

“We are pursuing these leads and hopefully positive developments will come out,” he added.

The MPD said faculty members and alumni of the UST Faculty of Civil Law will be included in the investigation.
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