Senators agree to reveal hazing suspect’s testimony
As primary suspect John Paul Solano continued to keep silent on the details of the fatal hazing of Horacio Castillo III, senators have decided to reveal the testimony that he gave in a closed-door session with them last month.
A resolution introduced by all the senators and signed by 21 was adopted in plenary Wednesday night authorizing the chairs of the Senate committees on public order and dangerous drugs and on justice and human rights to make Solano’s testimony public.
Senate Resolution No. 529 pointed out that during the Senate hearing on Sept. 25, Solano told senators that he was going to divulge all personal knowledge on Castillo’s case through a sworn statement if the Department of Justice (DOJ) would conduct a preliminary investigation.
At that time, the DOJ had already subjected Solano to inquest proceedings, causing him to delay the issuance of a sworn statement. He instead gave his testimony in an executive session with Senators Panfilo Lacson, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian and Bam Aquino.
During the executive session, the resolution recalled, Solano, in the presence of his lawyer, “divulged vital information that will help the authorities solve the case, prosecute the culprits and give justice to the death of Atio Castillo.” the resolution said.
But despite the two hearings since conducted by the DOJ in its preliminary investigation, “Solano has yet to execute a sworn statement and make public all knowledge he has on the death of Castillo,” it said.
Under the Senate rules on inquiries in aid of legislation, testimony taken or material presented in an executive session should not be made public unless authorized by the committee. The Senate can also lift the ban by a two-thirds vote of all its members.
Lacson, chair of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, on Friday said the Senate would not necessarily release the actual transcript of the executive session.
“But the members may confront Solano with his testimony during the Sept. 25 executive session and if he contradicts the same, he can be cited for contempt for lying (or) be evasive in his response to the questions,” said Lacson.
Castillo, a law freshman of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), died of injuries allegedly at the hands of Aegis Juris during the fraternity’s initiation rites on Sept. 17 at its library in Sampaloc, Manila.
Solano, a medical technologist, admitted being the one brought a dying Castillo to hospital on the orders of his frat brothers.
Castillo’s parents on Monday filed a complaint for murder and violation of the antihazing law in the DOJ against 19 Aegis Juris members. They included UST law dean Nilo Divina, who had repeatedly denied having prior knowledge of the initiation rites.
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