Police file murder, perjury cases vs. Solano

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John Paul Solano (left) is a principal suspect in the death of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III.

Story updated to include statements of John Paul Solano's lawyer.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — John Paul Solano is facing a number of criminal complaints for his alleged involvement in the death of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III.

The Manila Police Department filed on Monday cases of perjury, murder, robbery, obstruction of justice, and violation of Republic Act 8049, the Anti-Hazing Law, against Solano, a principal suspect in Castillo's death.

Meanwhile, 16 others are facing murder, robbery, and anti-hazing law charges. They are:

  • Antonio Arizala Trangia;
  • Ralph Trangia;
  • Arvin R. Balag;
  • Mhin Wei R. Chan;
  • Ranie Rafael Santiago;
  • Oliver John Audrey B. Onofre;
  • Jason Adolfo L. Robiños;
  • Danielle Hans Matthew Rodrigo;
  • Karl Mathew Villanueva;
  • Joshua Joriel Macabili;
  • Axel Munro Hipe;
  • Marc Anthony Ventura;
  • Aeron Salientes;
  • Marcelino Bagtang;
  • Zimon Padro; and
  • Jose Miguel Salamat.

Police also filed the same charges against "several unidentified members" of Aegis Juris Fraternity and its sister organization, the Regina Legis et Juris Sorority.

The mother of Ralph Trangia, Rosemarie, is also facing a complaint for obstruction of justice, besides murder, robbery, and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

 

This followed Solano's surrender to authorities on September 22.

Read: Suspect in UST student's hazing surrenders

Solano's lawyer, Paterno Esmaquel, filed a motion to dismiss the complaints.

"All along, we know is he is investigated and he surrendered in connection with the investigation of Anti-Hazing Law," he told prosecutors.

Esmaquel also objected to the inquest, saying it only applies to warrantless arrests, not to suspects who surrender.

Solano earlier denied his involvement in Castillo's death and said he only extended medical assistance, when he found him in Tondo, Manila on September 17. However, police said it was Solano who recruited Castillo to join the fraternity.

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

Prosecutors will issue a resolution on Tuesday whether or not Solano's case will proceed to a preliminary investigation.

Manhunt ongoing

Castillo, a 22-year-old University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman, was found on Sept. 17 in Tondo, Manila after he took part in hazing rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

Read: UST law student dead after alleged hazing

Castillo was declared dead later that day, with the initial autopsy report stating 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. He also had several marks of candle wax drips all over his body.

Solano told police he brought Castillo to the Chinese General Hospital.

Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, Manila Police District director, said in a Wednesday media briefing Solano recruited Castillo to join the fraternity.

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

Coronel said 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.

Solano is now under custody of the MPD homicide division.

MPD Spokesperson Erwin Margarejo called on the suspects to surrender as soon as possible, and they assured safety in their custody.

"Definitely there (are) already… formal charges, they know their rights, may mga karapatan silang, alam naman nila 'yon and, they can ask the advice of a legal counsel," Margarejo said.

MPD added four suspects have already sent surrender feelers.

The Bureau of Immigration said on September 21 that the younger Trangia left the country for Taiwan.

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

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