Castillo family to meet Duterte next week, Aguirre says
The family of slain University of Santo Tomas (UST) student Horacio Castillo III will meet President Rodrigo Duterte next week, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Thursday.
Horacio and Carmina Castillo met with Aguirre a day after the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors ordered the release for further investigation of John Paul Solano, one of the suspects criminally charged for Castillo’s death.
Still, Aguirre said “they wanted to thank the DOJ for the things we are doing to help solve the case.”
“We assured them that our prosecutors will be doing their best to resolve the case expeditiously. We can expect speedy hearings,” Aguirre told reporters.
The DOJ ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe and do a case build-up on how Castillo died and who are responsible.
Castillo sustained fatal injuries that caused his death after undergoing initial rites to become part of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.
The DOJ also issued a lookout bulletin order against 20 suspects to prevent them from leaving the country.
“They asked me to help them get an audience with PRRD, which was granted. They will see the President on Wednesday,” Aguirre added.
“They know that the people behind (their son’s death) are moneyed and influential so they want to meet the President to allay their fear of possible miscarriage of justice,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre said the Castillos are not a rich family, adding that the education of the slain law student was being supported by the uncle who is a doctor.
He also revealed that one of their relatives has already received threats, but did not give details.
The DOJ chief added that he also advised the Castillo family not to be alarmed by the order of DOJ prosecutors for the release of John Paul Solano, the primary suspect of the police in the fatal hazing.
“I explained to them that our prosecutors, and even the senators, agreed that the charges cannot be subject of inquest proceedings. I also advised them to get a lawyer for the (preliminary investigation) hearing on Oct. 4,” he pointed out.
Aguirre stressed that the LBO against 20 suspects would remain despite the finding of prosecutors that they could not be arrested at this point and subjected to inquest proceedings.
“What we issued is lookout bulletin and not an arrest warrant. Actually any one of them can leave the country because up to now there is no warrant of arrest yet. But they would be prevented from leaving in the sense that they would be require secure clearance by the immigration personnel,” he clarified.
The police have already filed charges of murder, violations of Republic Act 8049 (Anti-hazing law), perjury, obstruction of justice and robbery before the DOJ against Solano and 17 other suspects.
Ralph Trangia, another primary suspect, reportedly fled to Chicago a couple of days after the incident and before the LBO was issued.
Fifteen other respondents were also listed on the charge sheet for the same charges – Trangia’s father Antonio, Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Oliver John Audrey Onofre, Jason Adolfo Robiños, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Karl Mathew Villanueva, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Axel Munro Hipe, Marc Anthony Ventura, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro and Jose Miguel Salamat.
Trangia’s mother Rosemarie was also included in the complaint for obstruction of justice. She accompanied her son to the US. /je
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