Another person of interest in UST student's hazing claims innocence

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — Another person of interest in the hazing of Horacio Castillo III has surfaced.

Aeron Salientes arrived at the National Bureau of Investigation on Friday evening, maintaining his innocence.

"Here I am, appealing to the nation...I have to clear my name. Wala po talaga akong info kung anuman ang nangyayari at ang mga activities nila (I really don't have information on what happened and their activities)," Salientes said.

He claimed to have been inactive in the Aegis Juris Fraternity for three years.

Salientes also denied any involvement in planning the welcoming rites.

"I haven't talked to him. At most, nakakasalubong ko siguro sa school kasi one way or another namumukhaan ko siya (We must have passed each other by in school because one way or another, he looks familiar," Salientes said.

Salientes was among the 20 members of the fraternity under the immigration bureau's lookout order.

He said he was not in the area when the hazing occurred on September 16, noting he was in Pampanga at the time.

Salientes showed CNN Philippines a security camera footage with him about to take bus bound for Angeles, Pampanga at around 5 p.m., as he claimed he does every day.

He also presented another footage where he claimed to have arrived shortly before 8 p.m., but there was a two-hour delay on the time stamp.

"Although mayroong two hours and 45 minutes discrepancy, pinatunayan naman 'yun noong engineer na kumuha (Although there's a discrepancy of two hours and 45 minutes, the integrity of the video was attested by the engineer who took it)," Salientes said.

Salientes also said although he is a member of the fraternity, he is against hazing practices and claimed to have never joined any hazing activity.

As Salientes is not yet a suspect in the case, he was not detained.

He added he believes his other fraternity brothers, possibly involved or not, will also surface anytime soon.

"They're just preparing themselves....We want justice (for)  Horacio," Salientes said.

 

This comes hours after John Paul Solano, one of the principal suspects in the case, surrendered to authorities, claiming he had nothing to do with the student's death.

Solano said he was not at Castillo's hazing and that he was only called to help resuscitate the victim.

He is now under the custody of the Manila Police District's Homicide Division.

READ: Solano: I wasn't at Horacio Castillo's hazing

Castillo's hazing

Castillo, a 22-year-old UST law freshman was reportedly found on Sunday morning in Tondo, Manila after he took part in hazing rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

Castillo was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital later that day, with the initial autopsy report saying he succumbed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or thickening of the heart muscle.

According to a police report, Castillo had hematoma or bruises on both upper arms. His body bore several marks of candle wax drips all over his body.

Solano had told police that he found Castillo's lifeless body and brought him to the Chinese General Hospital. Upon his surrender Friday, Solano said he lied.

Coronel said in a Wednesday press briefing that Solano recruited the victim to join the fraternity.

Coronel, however, added two other principal suspects - UST law student Ralph Trangia and his father Antonio - allegedly owned the car that transported Castillo's body to the hospital.

"Clearly John Paul Solano, with the assistance and cooperation of Antonio Trangia and Ralph Trangia, deliberately misled our operation to the death of Castillo by providing us false and fraudulent statements. They are now considered as suspects in this investigation," he said.

The Bureau of Immigration said on Thursday the younger Trangia left the country for Taiwan on Tuesday.

His departure was a day before the Department of Justice issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against him, Solano and 14 other people involved in Castillo's hazing.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio, Ver Marcelo, VJ Bacungan, and Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.