March 22, 2018, 8:09 am
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Solano talks today on Castillo death

SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said John Paul Solano is expected to tell all when he testifies tonight (Monday) on the death of fellow UST law student Horacio Tomas Castillo III during the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity last week.

Solano, one of the three principal suspects in the death of Castillo, surrendered to Lacson last Friday but denied participating in the rites to “welcome” Castillo, saying he was only called by his fraternity brothers to give medical assistance to the 22-year-old law freshman.

Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said Solano refused to give details on his participation in the hazing but will give all the information he has during the hearing or in the formal investigation to be conducted by the Manila Police District (MPD)

Lacson said hearings on other issues will be held earlier in the day, adding his panel’s hearing will start at 6 o’clock.

Aside from Solano, another Aegis Juris fraternity member – Aeron Salientes – also surfaced at the MPD on Friday night and denied his involvement in the death of Castillo. Lacson did not say if Salientes would also be invited to the hearing.

Solano and Salientes are among the 16 fraternity members who have been placed on the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II last week. The rest are Ralph Trangia, Arvin Balag, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro, Jose Miguel Salamat, Carl Mattew Villanueva, Mhin Wei Chan, Marc Anthony Ventura, Axxel Munro Hipe, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Joshua Macabali, Jason Adolfo Robinos, Ranie Rafael Santiago and Danielle Hans Mattew Rodrigo.

Four others were added to the list – Ged Villanueva, Milfren Alvarado, Daniel Ragos and Dave Felix – by the Justice Department last Friday.

Trangia, however, left the Philippines last Tuesday aboard an Eva Air flight with Chicago, USA as its final destination, a day before the lookout bulletin list was released by Aguirre.

Solano had earlier claimed that he saw the body of Castillo wrapped in a blanket at the corner of Honorio Lopez Blvd. and Infanta St. in Balut, Tondo. He also claimed that he flagged down a red Mitsubishi Strada with plate No. ZTV 539 that was used to bring Castillo to the Chinese General Hospital.

The Strada was later traced as registered under Antonio Trangia, the father of Ralph.

Barangay officials in the area also said that base on CCTV footage, no body was seen in the area at the time that Solano claimed he found Castillo’s body.

MPD chief Joel Coronel said last Wednesday that the Trangias and Solano are the principal suspects in the death of Castillo, whose bloated body bore bruises, cigarette and candle wax burns, which the police said were caused by hazing.

Lacson, in an interview with dzBB, said Solano shared “very general information” before he was turned over to the MPD.

The MPD has announced that Solano will be subjected to inquest proceedings today.

Lacson said other witnesses who could shed light on the hazing death of Castillo have also been invited to the hearing.

“We also invited other sources of information who could give details, even those that were not mentioned (by Solano),” he said. 

Also invited to the hearing were officials of UST, MPD officers, representatives of different fraternities and the family of Castillo.

Solano, his initial statement to the MPD, said he was called by fraternity brothers to come to the “fraternity library” on Laonlan St. last Sunday.

“More or less he (Castillo) was half-dead. I can’t give a final verdict that he is dead because I’m not a doctor. He was unconscious. I did give CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and then when I couldn’t do anything else, I brought him to the hospital,” he said.

Aguirre yesterday said the investigation on the death of Castillo is facing stumbling blocks this early even as he appealed for witnesses to come forward and for members of the Aegis Juris fraternity to cooperate with authorities.

Aguirre said they received information that the officers of the Aegis Juris fraternity have ordered eight neophytes who recently underwent initiation rites, before the death of Castillo, from speaking and cooperating in the probe. – With Ashzel Hachero
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