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Hazing suspect gives up

Claims no role except to aid already ‘half-dead’ victim

JOHN Paul Solano, one of the suspects in the hazing death of Horacio Tomas Castillo III, said Castillo was already “half-dead” when he arrived and rushed him to the Chinese General Hospital in Manila on the night of Sept. 16.

But Solano said he could not be sure about the true condition of the 22-year-old Castillo because he is not a doctor, but said Castillo had been unconscious. 

“I did give CPR and then when I could not do anything else, I brought him to the hospital,” Solano told reporters following his surrender  to the Office of Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday.

Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, was met by UST Civil Law dean Nilo Divina, Lacson, and the police past 2 p.m. on Friday in Lacson’s office at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

In other developments:

* Malacañang condemned Castillo’s killing on Friday, more than a week after the freshman law student at the University of Santo Tomas died after the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity in the university.

“We strongly condemn the senseless killing of Horacio Castillo III,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

* The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office clarified that Ralph Cabales Trangia, one of the suspects in Castillo’s killing, did not enter Taiwan as some reports said, but went directly to Chicago as he transited from one airline to another at Taoyuan Airport.

SUSPECT BOOKED.  John Paul Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, is processed Friday by police after being considered the prime suspect in the fatal hazing of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio Castillo III, after he was turned over to the Manila Police District’s homicide section by Senator Panfilo Lacson. Norman Cruz

“In other words, Mr. Trangia did not enter Taiwan. He was only one of the millions of transit passengers who had passed through Taiwan’s busy airport and departed for North America,” a TECO statement said, adding it did not know Trangia’s current whereabouts.

* Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday urged the witnesses in the hazing of Castillo to come forward, assuring them of admission to the government’s Witness Protection Program if they would tell the truth.

“If they want to tell the truth or clear their names, they can come to my office and we will place them under the WPP,” Aguirre said in a statement.

“They can trust us. They have nothing to fear from us.”

• The Justice Department on Friday expanded to 20 the number of people who would be covered by the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order it earlier issued in connection with the death of Castillo.

In a revised memorandum released on Friday, Aguirre ordered Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to instruct all immigration officers in the airports and seaports to be vigilant to prevent any attempt of the so-called 20 “persons of interest” to leave the country.

Added to the ILBO list were Ged Villanueva, Milfren Alvarado, Daniel Ragos and Dave Felix.

• Some of the members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity said they were willing to be investigated on the  hazing rites that led Castillo’s death.

The Aegis Juris Fraternity also vowed  to cooperate with authorities.

Solano admitted he is also a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity whose members are implicated in the fatal hazing of Castillo. But he said was not in any way involved in the hazing, and that his  only participation was providing medical assistance to the fatality. 

“No, I wasn’t there. More or less,  my participation was to give medical assistance because they were in chaos that time,” Solano said. 

“I was there to give medical assistance. I am a medical health provider so more or less they would call me.” 

Solano said he is a medical technologist and a member of the fraternity involved in the hazing. He was also a UST law student in 2016 but he filed for a leave of absence due to his employment. 

He also denied recruiting the victim to the fraternity, saying he did not even know him. He met the victim only on two occasions―the first time when he told his name and the second time when the incident happened.

Lacson said Solano will appear during the resumption of his committee’s hearing on Monday. 

Solano said his lawyer was now preparing his statement. He also apologized to the family of the victim for earlier giving a false statement. 

“I want to clear my name because I am innocent.” 

Topics: John Paul Solano , Horacio Tomas Castillo III , Hazing , Senator Panfilo Lacson , Aegis Juris Fraternity , Nilo Divina , Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
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