Sunday , June 24, 2018

'Person of interest' in killing of UST law student now a suspect

MANILA (Updated) -- John Paul Solano, the man who brought Horacio Castillo III to the hospital last September 17, is now considered a principal suspect in the hazing death of the freshman law student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), police said Wednesday.

Solano is one of the three principal suspects identified by Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel.

The two others are the father and son Antonio and Ralph Trangia.

Coronel said the red pick-up truck, which was used to bring Castillo to the hospital, was registered under the name of Antonio Trangia who they believe is the father of Ralph, a leader of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

As for Solano, who is also a member of the fraternity, Coronel said the suspect deliberately gave a false statement to the police when he brought the hazing victim to the Chinese General Hospital in Manila.

"At present, he is already considered a principal suspect in the killing of Atio Castillo and manhunt operations are presently undergoing to effect the immediate arrest and capture of John Paul Solano," Coronel told a press conference.

Solano had told police that he did not know the victim, who was believed to be killed during initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity, a university-recognized brotherhood at the UST.

Coronel said Solano had told the MPD Investigation Section that he only found the "motionless" body of Castillo in Tondo, Manila and brought it in the hospital with the help of unidentified companions.

"But our investigation showed that Solano is a UST law student and a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity," the police official said.

The MPD released a surveillance video showing Solano and Castillo together, hours before the freshman law student was reported dead. The video was taken near the university premises in Sampaloc, Manila.

They also showed a photo of Solano wearing Aegis Juris Fraternity shirt.

Coronel said it was Solano who recruited Castillo to the fraternity.

"As you can see we have strong evidence to show that Mr. John Paul Solano deliberately, intentionally, and maliciously gave false statements to the Manila Police District relative to the investigation of the Horacio Castillo killing," Coronel said.

Coronel said aside from the three principal suspects, they have identified other possible suspects in the killing of Castillo.

"All officers of the Aegis Juris Fraternity currently enrolled are considered suspects, which is also provided under the Anti-Hazing Law wherein officers of fraternities and organizations are to be held liable for the incidents such as hazing take place. So they are already considered as suspects," Coronel said.

Coronel said they are also investigating the possible liabilities of members of the UST Civil Law faculty and fraternity alumni "who may have participated in the hazing of Castillo or on the cover-up of this incident."

The police official added that all members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, including members of it sister sorority, are considered suspects even if they did not participate in the actual hazing.

The MPD chief said manhunt operations are ongoing for Solano and other suspects relative to the killing of Castillo.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered to place 16 people, including Solano and Ralph Trangia, under the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) of the Bureau of Immigration in connection with the killing of Castillo. (ABC/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)