Solano tags 6 frat men in fatal hazing
John Paul Solano named six fraternity members involved in the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio Castillo III during a closed-door session with senators on Monday night.
“He named at least six frat members and he mentioned a lot of details last night. This would be very important to the case that will be filed by the Manila Police District (MPD) against these frat members,” Sen. Miguel Zubiri told reporters on Tuesday.
Aside from Zubiri, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Bam Aquino and Sherwin Gatchalian were present during the closed-door session.
Lacson is head of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs that opened an inquiry into Castillo’s hazing death on Monday night.
Solano, who refused to mention names during the hearing, requested a closed-door session so he could give the committee a blow-by-blow account of what happened on the morning of Sept. 17, the day Castillo is believed to have died after hazing during initiation into Aegis Juris.
The 27-year-old registered medical technologist is one of the primary suspects in the brutal death of Castillo.
He had told police investigators that he was not present during the initiation rites and was only called to give medical aid to Castillo.
“He told all, he mentioned names and the information he gave us will really help the police solve the case,” Zubiri said, adding that the names would be enumerated in Solano’s sworn statement, which when released would enable the MPD to hunt down the suspects.
Zubiri said Solano identified a seventh suspect, but made clear the person was not a fraternity member.
The senator also said Solano had allowed him to relay his account to Castillo’s parents, Horacio and Carmina, who were present during the hearing but not in the closed-door session.
What really happened?
“We want to know the truth about what happened that night,” Castillo’s father told the senators at the hearing attended by officials of the UST Faculty of Civil Law and members of Aegis Juris.
“We stand before this committee to find answers to the brutal murder of our only son,” the father said, adding that their family would be “forever tormented” by the thought that the fraternity had invited their son only to treat him like an animal.
He said the culprits behind his son’s death only informed the family of the tragedy a day later.
“We want to know the truth of what happened that night and every detail so we can leave his final hours with him and let him know that he is not alone,” he added.
Giving a more detailed account of his involvement in the incident, Solano said during the hearing that a fraternity member called him up around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 asking him to come to the frat’s library on Dapitan Street, without telling him why.
Solano said he was still in bed when he received the call.
He said it was during the second call, around 7:10 a.m., that he was told he was being summoned because “someone collapsed.”
When he arrived in the fraternity’s library, he saw Castillo lying on the floor, he said.
He said he checked Castillo’s pupils and pulse.
“When I checked the pulse I didn’t hear (sic) anything,” he said.
He said he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Castillo and eventually advised the group to take him to the hospital.
When asked why Castillo was brought to Chinese General Hospital instead of UST Hospital, which was nearer, Solano said: “They just told me to follow them to Chinese General Hospital.”
Sen. Richard Gordon gave Solano a tongue-lashing for his action.
“You already joined a conspiracy when you brought (Castillo) away from the UST to conceal what you have done,” Gordon told Solano.
As to why he lied in his statement to the police that he found the dying Castillo on a Tondo sidewalk, Solano told the committee that he was instructed to do so by a frat member, whom he named during the closed-door session.
Frat man on leave
UST civil law dean Nilo Divina—a member, not a founder, of Aegis Juris as earlier reported—told the panel that he took a leave of absence from the organization when he assumed the deanship eight years ago.
“My leave of absence was not symbolic. From that day on, I purposely refrained from participating in any fraternity-related activity,” he said.
Divina also admitted that the fraternity did not file a notice of initiation on Sept. 16, contrary to the Anti-Hazing Law requirement that a written notice be submitted to school authorities at least seven days prior the event.
He stressed, however, that any form of hazing is prohibited by UST.
“I don’t think there’s something wrong with joining a fraternity. It’s a very noble organization. It exists for lawful purposes to foster brotherhood and camaraderie,” Divina said.
“Hazing is wrong on all accounts but hazing is not synonymous to fraternity-joining,” he added.
Divina called on his brothers in the fraternity to come out, “act like lawyers” and assist in the investigation.
“One of them heeded my call, John Paul Solano, who is now in custody of the MPD. To the rest, I reiterate my call for them to surface to shed light on what happened,” he said. —WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS
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