Police find ‘paddles’ in frat library
The Manila police on Thursday recovered at least three wooden paddles normally used in fraternity initiation rites at the library of the Aegis Juris, just as one of the suspects in the hazing death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III was being released from police custody.
One of the witnesses to the police search of the Aegis Juris Law Resources Center, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it did not seem that the paddles had been used.
“There was no telling evidence. It can only be established that he (Castillo) was there,” the source said, adding that police also found liquor bottles and leftover food.
Officers started combing through the center, also known as the library of the fraternity based in the University of Santo Tomas, a day after they obtained a search warrant.
Supt. Erwin Margarejo, Manila Police District spokesperson, said forensic evidence had also been recovered, but he declined to give details.
Margarejo earlier said police were hoping to collect fingerprints, body fluids like blood, saliva or vomit, hair samples and fibers.
As Scene of the Crime Operatives conducted the search, John Paul Solano, one of the principal suspects in Castillo’s death, walked out of detention on orders of the Department of Justice, which said he must first undergo a preliminary investigation.
“Again I extend my deepest condolences to [Castillo’s] parents,” Solano said. “Rest assured I will shed light [on what happened]… I will tell the truth.”
“I will prove my innocence,” he told the Inquirer. “The only thing I regret is being left alone in the hospital. But I would never regret helping someone out.”
Solano admitted he lied when he told the police that he found a dying Castillo on a roadside in Tondo and took him to Chinese General Hospital, where the law freshman and Aegis Juris neophyte was declared dead on arrival on Sept. 17.
The MPD had filed charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, murder, robbery and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law against Solano.
According to Ruby Perez, chair of Barangay 471 where the frat library is located, there are 16 closed-circuit television cameras in the area but there is no video recording of the hazing or of Castillo’s body being loaded into a red Mitsubishi Strada pickup used to take him to the hospital.
“The library has been here for a long time, and not once have I encountered even a small complaint or problem,” Perez said.
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