Solano, 18 others face raps over death of UST law student

MANILA (Philippines News Agency)  — The Manila Police District (MPD) on Monday filed criminal complaints against John Paul Solano and 18 others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III due to hazing.

Solano, who underwent inquest proceeding is facing a complaint murder, obstruction of justice, perjury, robbery, and violation of Anti-Hazing Law.

Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva conducted the proceedings which was attended by MPD officers and Castillo’s parents, Horacio II and Carminia.

Other suspects facing complaint for murder and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law are other members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity as well members of its sister organization Regina Sorority namely, Antonio Trangia, his son Ralph, Arvin R. Balag, Mhin Wei R. Chan, Ranie Rafael Santiago, Oliver John Audrey B. Onofre, Jason Adolfo Robiños, Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo, Karl Mathew Villanueva, Joshua Joriel Macabali, Axel Munro Hipe, Marc Anthony Ventura, Aeron Salientes, Marcelino Bagtang, Zimon Padro and Jose Miguel Salamat.

The MPD, in its complaint, noted that a complaint for obstruction of justice will be filed against Mrs. Rosemarie Trangia, Ralph’s mother.

The camp of Solano, through his lawyer Paterno Esmaquel, filed a six-page omnibus motion asking the DOJ to stop the inquest proceedings and/or preliminary investigation of the case until his motion to dismiss is resolved.

Esmaquel said that in an inquest proceeding, the respondent will no longer be able to be given the time to file his counter affidavit.

“It’s clear in the rule. Inquest proceeding is proper only if the accused is arrested by virtue of warrantless arrest. He was not arrest by virtue of warrantless arrest. He voluntarily surrendered, and in fact, it was the police who preferred the affidavit of voluntary surrender, and now they submitted an affidavit of arrester. We have that copy,” Esmaquel told reporters after the inquest proceedings.

Solano surrendered to the office of Senator Panfilo Lacson and eventually to the Manila Police District (MPD) last Friday.

Esmaquel urged the DOJ to immediately order Solano’s release. He is currently detained at the MPD after he surrendered last Friday.

He assured that Solano has committed to appear voluntarily in the preliminary investigations.

“Should he fail to appear, then he shall be considered to have waived, forfeited his right to preliminary investigation…We are just exercising the constitutional and statutory rights of Mr. Solano. I’m just wondering why they are in a hurry to file the complaint. It’s still there, you read the omnibus motion,” Esmaquel said.

In his omnibus motion, Solano said the case of murder in relation to Section 4 of the Republic Act of 8049 (Anti Hazing Law) is considered a complex crime involving crime “mala in se” and “mala prohibia.”

He said murder is a crime “mala in se” as it is defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code while the Anti Hazing law is a crime “mala prohibia” as it is defined and penalized under Special Law.

“Sad to say, however, there can be no complex crime if one offense is punished by a special law since both offenses must be defined and punished by the same statute,” the motion read.

“There being no complex crime of murder and violation of the Anti Hazing Law, then there exist no offense charged in the instant case which thereby warrants its outright dismissal,” Solano said.

Likewise, Solano said he was not properly informed of the nature of the cause of the accusation against him and that he is entitled to the right to a regular preliminary investigation of the case against him.

Since there is no proper offense filed against him, Solano said he has nothing to refute and disprove in connection with the incident.

Solano said he is willing to face and answer any accusation against him resulting from Castillo’s death as shown by his surrender, but he should be properly informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

“Every person is entitled to due process and the same cannot be dispensed with for the simple reason that it is the basic right duly enshrined in our Constitution,” the respondent said.

Solano recounted that he was not arrested by virtue of warrantless arrest but was placed under the custody of the MPD because of his voluntary surrender through the intercession of Senator Panfilo Lacson upon his understanding that he will cooperate and assist in the investigation of the crime.

“This being so, then the instant case against him resulting from the untimely death of the late Horacio is not and cannot be the proper subject of an inquest proceedings; otherwise, there will be an open and gross violation of herein respondent’s right to a regular preliminary investigation of the cases or cases against him,” the motion read.

Solano also manifested before the DOJ that he is revoking the waiver of detention he executed on September 22, 2017 for his continued detention in MPD since the murder charges filed against him has no legal ground to stand on.

The respondent said the purported false testimony that he gave to the police should not be given weight because this was not subscribed under oath.

“Thus, there is no offense of false testimony and/or perjury to speak of in this case,” Solano said in his motion.

“Considering it is quite clear from the foregoing that there exist no offense charged in the instant case(s) which warrants the continued detention of herein respondent in MPD, and considering further that he has herein revoked and cancelled his said waiver of detention, we respectfully submit that herein respondent must be released immediately from the custody and detention of the MPD,” he added.

He said his continued detention would be in violation of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

The vehicle was found registered to the elder Antonio Trangia, the father of Ralph Trangia, who managed to slip out of the country before the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) was issued.

Solano has denied involvement in the hazing last September 16 and claimed he was only called by frat brothers to revive the already “half-dead” Castillo at their “fraternity library” at Laong Laan Street in Sampaloc.

Police investigators did not buy his story, assailing his credibility after he initially gave a completely different account.

Solano earlier told investigators that he took Castillo to CGH after seeing him sprawled on a sidewalk in Tondo.

The younger Trangia has reportedly fled to Chicago a couple of days after the incident.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had ordered Trangia and 19 other persons of interest which include members of the fraternity be placed in the ILBO upon the request of MPD investigators. (PNA)


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