MANILA police released on Thursday hazing suspect John Paul Solano who vowed to prove his innocence in the hazing death of a freshman law student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
“I will prove my innocence at the proper venue. I condole with the family of Atio,” Solano said, referring to Horacio “Atio” Castillo 3rd.
Solano, who surrendered on September 22, was released at 12:20 p.m. on Thursday, a day after the Department of Justice (DoJ) issued the release order.
Solano’s lawyers Niño Servañes and Edzel Bert Canlas signed the blotter at the Homicide Section of the Manila Police District (MPD), indicating that Solano was transferred to their custody.
He is expected to appear at the preliminary hearing of the DoJ’s prosecutorial office on October 4 and 9 with counter-affidavits on the charges filed against him and other suspects.
Police filed charges of murder, robbery and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against 17 members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity including Solano, Arvin R. Balag, Mhin Wei R. Chan, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Oliver John Audrey B. Onofre, Jason Adolfo L. Robiños, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Karl Mathew Villanueva, Joshua Joriel Macabili, Axel Munro Hipe, Marc Anthony Ventura, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro and Jose Miguel Salamat.
Solano was also accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for giving false testimony when he claimed he found Castillo on a sidewalk in Tondo then brought him to Chinese General Hospital.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage later showed that Solano arrived at the Aegis Juris library on Laon-Laan Street, the alleged hazing venue, then accompanied the red Mitsubishi pickup and a black Toyota Fortuner to the hospital on September 17.
Spouses Antonio Arizala Trangia and Rosemarie Trangia were also included in the charge sheet as Antonio owned the Mitsubishi pickup that brought Castillo to the hospital, while Rosemarie helped her son Ralph flee to Chicago via Taipei.
Also charged were “several other unidentified members” of Aegis Juris Fraternity and Regina Sorority present during the hazing rites.
Aside from Solano, fraternity members Salientes and Robiños have also gone to the authorities to clear their names.
Police inspect frat library
Manila police opened on Thursday the Aegis Juris library to gather “forensic evidence” on the case.
Upon entering the premises where Castillo was said to have undergone initiation rites, police and scene of the crime operatives discovered that the CCTVs installed in the building were not working.
Officially known as the Aegis Juris Law Resource Center, the building is a few meters away from the university campus in Sampaloc, Manila.
Castillos to meet Duterrte
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd on Thursday said that the parents of the slain law freshman would meet President Rodrigo Duterte on October 4.
Aguirre said he met Castillo’s parents, Horacio Jr. and Carmina, and his sister on Thursday.
They requested a brief audience with President Duterte, Aguirre told reporters.
“They want to get the President’s help to get justice and make sure there’s no miscarriage of justice. They know the people behind [the hazing incident]are moneyed and influential,” he said.
with ASHLEY JOSE AND JOMAR CANLAS