• Father of hazing victim recalls ordeal of waiting for son to come home

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    THE father of hazing victim Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo 3rd learned of his son’s death Monday morning through an anonymous text telling him that his son was at the Chinese General Hospital.

    A suspect in Castillo’s death, John Paul Solano, a medical technologist, insisted during the Senate investigation Monday night that he merely provided the victim medical aid. He claimed that he was innocent since he was not at the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris.

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    “I was the one who initiated (to the fraternity members) that the victim to be brought to the hospital,” Solano said, who also claimed that he was instructed by fraternity members to tell hospital personnel that he found Castillo in Balut, Tondo.

    Solano also said he was not the one who decided to bring Atio to Chinese General Hospital. “They just asked me to follow them. I was riding muy motorcycle.” His companions rode in two vehicles — a black Fortuner and red Strada pick-up. He promised to identify the names of his companions in an affidavit he was preparing.

    Castillo’s father narrated before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs how he and his wife found out about their son’s condition.

    “What happened was we were waiting for our son. He promised us that he will be home Sunday morning. Sunday morning came, I and (my wife) Mini were waiting for call or text. And walang dumating (Nothing came),” Horacio Jr. said.

    “We went on and she told me, ‘Let’s wait a little longer.’ We started to worry when it’s already past 12 (noon) because that’s the time he promised that he will be home,” he said.

    He said that at 6 p.m., there was still no text or call so he and his wife decided to do some phone calls. “She reached for that pamphlet that everybody saw. We started to call the people who have their phone numbers in it. And to our surprise nobody was answering.”

    “So, we get really worried. We did not know who to talk to or what to do. And nightfall came. So it’s already 9 o‘clock. And we were really, really, really worried. At 10 o’clock my wife said. ‘Why don’t we go to the UST hospital? Maybe Atio is confined there?’ So, immediately we got up and proceeded to the UST hospital. He wasn’t there,” the elder Castillo said.

    “After that we went back home. That’s the time that we got an anonymous text that my son Atio was in CGH. At first we thought CGH was wrongly spelled. Maybe it stood for PGH. But my daughter said, ‘Dad, maybe that’s Chinese General Hospital. That’s nearer to UST,’” he said.

    Horacio Jr. said he called up Chinese General Hospital to confirm if there was a person by the name of Horacio Castillo 3rd admitted. “I called up the emergency room. At first they said there was nobody by that name.”

    “I was thinking maybe they used another name or an alias. I just said that ‘Do you have a medium built, (about) 22 (years old), male admitted in your hospital?’ What they said was, ‘We have here a person of that built,’’ he said.  

    “I said, ‘Do you know if that is my son? My son is from UST. And then the nurse I was talking to said that the person was wearing a UST Political science t-shirt,” Horacio Jr. said.

    UST Civil  Law Dean Nilo Divina learned of Castillo’s death ahead of his parents when the faculty secretary, Arthur Capili, told him Sunday afternoon about the news that a “neophyte” died from hazing conducted by the Aegis Juris.

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