By JAIMIE ROSE R. ABERIA
The “good samaritan” who brought alleged hazing victim Horacio Castillo III to hospital is now a person of interest in the case, police said yesterday.
Manila Police District (MPD) spokesperson Supt. Erwin Margarejo said Barangay 133 officials have submitted a certification disputing John Paul Solano’s statement that he found Castillo wrapped in a blanket on a sidewalk at the corner of Honorio Lopez Boulevard and Infanta Street in Balut, Tondo, around 7:50 a.m. Sunday, saying they did not monitor such incident.
“He is already considered a person of interest because there is conflicting statement in his sworn statement, considering that it was already disputed by the barangay officials in a barangay certification,” Margarejo said.
Barangay 133 Zone 11 Kagawad Daniel Sayson earlier showed members of the media the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage of the area at the time when the body was supposedly found. It only recorded passing people and motorcycles.
“Walang commotion kasi. Siyempre pag may nilaglag na katawan diyan, ang tendency dumugin ng tao kaya once na may mangyari, alam agad ng mga taga rito,” Sayson said.
Sayson said they recorded a shooting incident involving an employee of a nearby establishment, which happened Monday morning.
Margarejo said they also found out that Solano is also a law student, something that he failed to disclose in his sworn statement.
“Apparently, he is a part-time medical technologist at San Lazaro Hospital. We also received information that he is a law student, which is worthy of an investigation considering that the victim is also a law student,” he said.
Solano, Margarejo said, is no longer coordinating with them.
With this development, the MPD spokesperson said he is hopeful that the case will be resolved soon.
“Maganda ‘yung nangyayaring development. We are really very hopeful that this case will be solved as soon as possible,” he said.
NBI STEPS IN
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the death of Castillo.
“As a parent myself, I feel their loss and anguish,” said Aguirre in a statement as he expressed his condolences to the Castillo family.
“We will endeavor to see to it that those who are responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” he assured.
In a department order issued yesterday, the secretary ordered the NBI to investigate the case and if evidence warrants, file appropriate charges against those responsible for the death of the law student.
Aguirre said the Department of Justice (DoJ) is committed to assisting the Castillo family with regards to the death of Horacio.
“The Department of Justice (DoJ) condemns any act of senseless violence committed against our youth and against any innocent person for that matter,” he said.
Aguirre, who himself is a fraternity member of the Lex Taleonis Fraternitas along with President Duterte, stressed “deaths and physical injuries due to hazing have no place in a civilized society.”
“The loss of a life should never be the price that one should pay for brotherhood and acceptance,” he said.
The family said Horacio left Saturday morning to attend Aegis Juris fraternity’s overnight welcoming ceremony at UST and was supposed to be home Sunday morning.
Though hesitant to join, Horacio had been assured there would be no hazing.
However, he was found dead covered with blanket by bystanders on a sidewalk in Tondo.
He was still brought to the Chinese General Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival at 9:21 a.m. on Sunday.
Because of the incident, UST Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina has suspended officers and members of the Aegis Juris fraternity barred them from entering the campus and attending classes.
Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri asked yesterday for a Senate investigation, in aid of legislation, to hold accountable those responsible for Castillo’s death.
The demand was contained in Senate Resolution No. 504 filed Zubiri which also condemned in the strongest sense the death of Castillo. (with reports from Jeffrey Damicog, Mario Casayuran)