THE person who brought hazing victim Horacio Castillo III to the hospital is being considered a person of interest, police said Tuesday.
Manila Police District (MPD) director Joel Napoleon Coronel said they invited Paul Sarte Solano to clarify his statement regarding the death of Castillo, a freshman law student at the University of Santo Tomas.
Solano earlier said he found Castillo last Sunday, September 17, around 8 a.m. at the sidewalk in Barangay 133, Tondo in Manila covered with a blanket. He said he brought Castillo to the Chinese General Hospital where the law student was declared dead on arrival.
The MPD and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are conducting a separate investigation into the death of Castillo.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday directed the NBI to conduct a separate probe into the death of Castillo during the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.
"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," Aguirre said.
"The persons responsible for this senseless death should be brought to justice," he added.
According to autopsy report of the MPD medico-legal officer, Castillo died of cardiac arrest due to the injuries he sustained such as severe hematoma in the arms and cigarette and candle burns.
Coronel said officials in Barangay 133 where Solano supposedly found Castillo denied his claim.
"Based on witnesses they did not notice the incident being mentioned by Solano," the MPD chief said in Filipino, adding that Solano's statement was inconsistent with the testimonies of barangay officials.
Arnel Rovillo, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera operator at Barangay 133, said that upon hearing the death of Castillo, they reviewed the CCTV footage in the area but they did not find anything that will support Solano's claim.
Coronel said that based on the investigation, Solano is a part-time employee of the San Lazaro Hospital who is also taking up law at UST.
Castillo's mother, Carmina, said they dropped their son off at the school Saturday morning, September 16, and he told them that he will be back home the next day as he will attend the welcoming rites of Aegis Juris Fraternity.
She said they allowed Castillo to join the brotherhood as they were informed that it was an anti-hazing fraternity. She added that the brotherhood is recognized by the university and the dean of the UST College of Law is among its elders.
Carmina said they were confident that nothing bad will happen to their son as he joined the fraternity.
Meanwhile, Coronel said they are considering all the information being given to them by Castillo's friends, UST's student council and management for the immediate identification of the suspects who are responsible for Castillo's hazing death.
He said aside from Solano, they are also treating Axel Hipe, a member of Aegis Juris Fraternity and the last person who contacted Castillo based on his phone records, as a person of interest.
Coronel said also part of their investigation is the statement of Carmina that after receiving a text message from Castillo on Saturday, an Uber driver brought his belongings in their home in Makati City.
He said they will find out if the driver who brought home Castillo's belongings is a legitimate Uber driver. (SunStar Philippines)