DOJ offers protection to witnesses in UST student's death

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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (left) and hazing victim Horacio Castillo III

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said those who have information on the death of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III may be placed in the agency's witness protection program (WPP).

"If they want to tell the truth or clear their names, they can come to my office and we will place them under the WPP," he said in a statement on Friday. "They can trust us. They have nothing to fear from us."

 

Aguirre added witnesses should fear more the people who are keeping them from going to the authorities.

"They can be dangerous people with hidden agenda," he said.

The Justice Secretary said those with information about Castillo's death may contact the DOJHoracio hotline at 0995-4429241.

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

Read: UST law student dead after alleged hazing

Manila Police District Director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said in a Wednesday media briefing that they are hunting down three principal suspects in Castillo's death.

Read: Police name 3 principal suspects in UST hazing death; manhunt ongoing

The first is UST law student John Paul Solano, who had told police that he found Castillo's lifeless body and brought him to the Chinese General Hospital.

However, Coronel said Solano actually recruited the victim to join the fraternity.

Coronel also said the other two suspects are UST law student Ralph Trangia and his father Antonio. They 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," Coronel said.

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

Read: BI: Suspect in hazing victim's death out of the country

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