Sen­a­tors to make public Solano tes­ti­mony

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA

Sen­a­tors have ap­proved the re­lease of the tes­ti­mony given by haz­ing sus­pect John Paul Solano in an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion.

The Se­nate, in its ses­sion Wed­nes­day night, adopted Res­o­lu­tion No. 529 which au­tho­rizes the chair­men of the Com­mit­tee on Public Or­der and Dan­ger­ous Drugs and the Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice and Hu­man Rights to make public the state­ments made by Solano in an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion in re­la­tion to the death of fresh­man law stu­dent Ho­ra­cio "Atio" Castillo III in haz­ing rites by the Aegis Juris fra­ter­nity.

Sen­a­tor Juan Miguel Zu­biri, prin­ci­pal au­thor of the res­o­lu­tion, said the Up­per Cham­ber voted unan­i­mously to re­veal Solano's tes­ti­mony "to help fer­ret out the truth" and bring "jus­tice to the death of Castillo."

Zu­biri said only Sen. Grace Poe and Leila de Lima were not able to sign but have ex­pressed their sup­port for the move.

The two com­mit­tees are chaired by Sen­a­tors Pan­filo Lac­son and Richard Gor­don, re­spec­tively, who led

the in­quiry last Septem­ber 25.

Solano, a mem­ber of the Aegis Juris fra­ter­nity and sus­pect in the killing of Castillo, dur­ing the hear­ing re­fused sev­eral times to di­vulge his knowl­edge and in­voked his right against self-in­crim­i­na­tion amid the cases he faced be­fore the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ). Solano's camp ear­lier as­sailed the fil­ing of cases against him and ar­gued that a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion should have been con­ducted in­stead.

Solano agreed to go through an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion with the sen­a­tors along with his lawyer, Paterno Es­maquel.

"Solano, dur­ing the ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion and in the pres­ence of coun­sel, 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 read.

At the hear­ing, Solano said he would only di­vulge pub­licly his knowl­edge on the fa­tal haz­ing rites through a sworn af­fi­davit he would sub­mit to the DOJ.

But, since the Se­nate hear­ing, and de­spite two pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­ducted by the DOJ, Solano failed to ex­e­cute a sworn state­ment and make public all the knowl­edge that he has on the death of Castillo.

"Solano lied to us by say­ing he was go­ing to sub­mit his sworn af­fi­davit to the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion, so the Com­mit­tee has de­cided. We will re­lease his state­ments," Zu­biri said.

Cit­ing Se­nate rules, the said tes­ti­mony or any ma­te­rial pre­sented in an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion "shall not be made public un­less au­tho­rized by the com­mit­tee."

Also, the information re­vealed in the meet­ing shall re­main con­fi­den­tial un­less at least two-thirds of the sen­a­tors voted to lift the ban of se­crecy.

Zu­biri said Solano has un­til Mon­day next week to sub­mit his af­fi­davit to the DOJ. Should he fail to do so, the Se­nate would re­veal his recorded tran­script on the same day.

Solano, a med­i­cal tech­nol­o­gist, ear­lier pre­tended to be a con­cerned ci­ti­zen who only found Castillo slumped on a side­walk in Tondo, Manila last Septem­ber 17. He later con­fessed in the hear­ing that Aegis Juris mem­bers or­dered him to lie in his re­port to the po­lice.

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