SOLANO EYED AS STATE WIT­NESS

Tempo - - Front Page - By JEF­FREY G. DAMICOG ANALOU DE VERA JAIMIE ROSE R. ABERIA

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre has ex­pressed open­ness to ac­cept Aegis Juris frat­man John Paul Solano as a state wit­ness to the death of haz­ing vic­tim Ho­ra­cio To­mas “Atio” Castillo III.

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre has ex­pressed open­ness to ac­cept Aegis Juris frat­man John Paul Solano as a state wit­ness to the death of haz­ing vic­tim Ho­ra­cio To­mas “Atio” Castillo III.

The sec­re­tary clar­i­fied that al­though there is no of­fer yet to Solano, the De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DoJ) may con­sider plac­ing him un­der the Wit­ness Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram (WPP) if he asks for it.

“It is pos­si­ble but he has not yet ap­plied,” Aguirre ex­plained.

Solano was freed from Manila Po­lice District de­ten­tion cell Thurs­day afternoon, a day af­ter the DoJ or­dered his re­lease and to pro­ceed with the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the crim­i­nal com­plaints filed against him and 17 oth­ers over the death of the 22year-old Univer­sity of Sto. To­mas (UST) law stu­dent.

“The re­lease of the re­spon­dent would not mean he is al­ready off the hook,” Act­ing Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Jorge Cata­lan Jr. said Wed­nes­day.

“The pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion that would be con­ducted would only mean that he would have the op­por­tu­nity or chance to file his an­swer,” he ex­plained.

Cata­lan said the first hear­ings of pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion is set on Oc­to­ber 4 and 9.

“We will be cre­at­ing a three­mem­ber panel to con­duct the req­ui­site pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion headed by pros­e­cu­tor Su­san Vil­lanueva,” he said.

Dur­ing his re­lease yes­ter­day, Solano ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to the MPD.

“First of all I would like to thank MPD na nagtyaga sila sa akin kahit me­dyo na stress sila. And again, I ex­tend my deep­est con­do­lences sa par­ents ni Atio,” said Solano dur­ing a brief in­ter­view.

Be­fore his re­lease, Solano first un­der­went med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion con­ducted by a doc­tor from the Scene of the Crime Op­er­a­tives (SoCO) in­side the MPD-Homi­cide sec­tion, to see if he sus­tained any in­juries dur­ing his six-day stay at the cus­to­dial fa­cil­ity.

At around 1 p.m., au­thor­i­ties and his le­gal team ac­com­pa­nied him out­side the MPD Head­quar­ters and boarded their ve­hi­cle.

READY TO TELL ALL

Solano, mean­while, also as­sured that he will tell the truth dur­ing the start of the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“And also, rest as­sured I will shed light po sa sto­ries sa pag­dat­ing ng pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions na I will tell the truth na po,” he said.

Solano also main­tained that he is in­no­cent in the fatal incident. “I will prove my in­no­cence [by] telling the truth,” he said.

THE CRIME SCENE

Mean­while, the MPD con­ducted a search at the Aegis Juris fra­ter­nity li­brary in Sam­paloc, Manila, where the haz­ing rites for Castillo re­port­edly oc­cured.

As of this writ­ing, mem­bers of MPD homi­cide sec­tion, Scene of the Crime Op­er­a­tives (SOCO), District Spe­cial Oper­a­tion Unit, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the build­ing’s owner, and Barangay 471 Chair­woman Ruby Perez were still in­side the fra­ter­nity li­brary at the cor­ner of Navarra and Laong Laan Streets.

MPD spokesper­son Er­win Mar­garejo said the op­er­a­tives were look­ing for pieces of ev­i­dence such as fin­ger­prints, foot marks; and body flu­ids like blood sam­ples, saliva, and vomit, which can be con­sid­ered sup­ple­men­tary ev­i­dence.

He said that be­lieves that team would find a break­through in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion even as the haz­ing hap­pened be­tween 12 mid­night to 8 a.m. of Sept. 17, or more than a week ago.

“Gu­magamit ng tech­nol­ogy para kahit punasan ‘yung area ay makakakuha pa rin ng sam­ple,” he said.

He also ex­plained that it took a while be­fore they were granted a search war­rant by the Manila Re­gional Trial Court.

“Alam na­man natin in ap­ply­ing for a search war­rant may process na susundin and it is the judge who de­cided kung may prob­a­ble cause na kailan­gan ng search war­rant,” he said, adding that they or­dered po­lice to se­cure the area five days ago.

(EPA)

GREG Slaugh­ter of Barangay Gine­bra scores a bas­ket dur­ing the PBA Gover­nor’s Cup quar­ter­fi­nal match be­tween San Miguel Beer and Barangay Gine­bra at the SM MOA Arena in Pasay City. The Kings won, 104-84.

(Ali Vi­coy)

AEGIS Juris frat­man John Paul So­ri­ano leaves his de­ten­tion cell a day af­ter the De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DoJ) or­dered his re­lease.

(Jansen Romero)

ARMED with a search war­rant, Manila Po­lice District crime scene in­ves­ti­ga­tors open the Aegis Juris Li­brary on Laon Laan Street, in Sam­paloc, Manila, to gather ev­i­dence re­gard­ing the death of UST law fresh­man Ho­ra­cio Castillo III.

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