Senator: Prime suspect in UST hazing death Solano names six frat members involved

Updated to include statements from John Paul Solano.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) —   A senator said Tuesday the prime suspect in the hazing death of law student Horatio Castillo III named at least six members of the fraternity involved in the incident.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri told reporters that John Paul Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris fraternity which carried out Castillo's initiation rites, bared more details of the hazing in an executive session with senators late Monday.

"He named at least six frat members and mahalaga 'yan sa imbestigasyon; and he mentioned a lot of details. Maganda po itong salaysay niya kahapon. Kaya this will be very important sa case na ipa-file ng MPD dito sa mga frat members," Zubiri said, referring to the Manila Police Department.

[Translation: He named at least six frat members. That's important to the investigation, as he mentioned a lot of details. His story was solid yesterday, that's why this will be very important to the case MPD plans to file to the frat members.]

Solano, however, has yet to release an affidavit detailing the incident.

Zubiri appealed to Solano and his laywer Paterno Esmaquel to address "legal impediments" to Solano's affidavit, which will contain all the details concerning Castillo's alleged death by hazing.

"Makakaumpisa na po ng manhunt ang MPD 'pag nailabas na po nila 'yung sworn affidavit niya," said the lawmaker, who is pushing for a repeal of the 1995 Anti-Hazing Law.

[Translation: The MPD can start their manhunt once the sworn affidavit is released.]

Solano is under the custody of the MPD Homicide Division. He and 17 others are facing charges of murder, robbery, and violation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

In an interview with media from his jail cell, Solano said he hoped to be released from detention. "I should be. Kasi alam naman ng Diyos na inosente ako [Cause the Lord knows I'm innocent]..., na I was there to help lang."

Zubiri added that Solano claimed to have CCTV footage from the barangay in Tondo on the morning of September 17, where he allegedly found Castillo unconscious. Castillo was a freshman at the University of Santo Tomas.

Read more: Solano: I was not alone when Atio was brought to hospital

Solano is still awaiting the decision of the Justice Department, which is looking into the case.

Solano's lawyer Esmaquel said his client is willing to tell all about Castillo's death, but he withheld information until he was able to submit a counter affidavit. This, after Solano learned that charges would be filed against him.

Zubiri claimed the charges filed against Solano were rushed.

"Kasi nagkagusot-gusot sa prosecution. 'Di ba ni-file-an siya kaagad ng murder charges and other charges under an inquest proceeding. According to legal luminaries, dapat nagkaroon muna ng preliminary investigation," Zubiri said.

[Translation: There were problems in the prosecution (of Solano). Authorities filed murder and other charges under an inquest proceeding. According to legal luminaries, there should've been a preliminary investigation.]

The senator added that authorities cannot shortcut procedures in prosecution.

"Kasi pag ni-short cut mo 'yung procedures baka naman mabulilyaso yung kaso. At imbis na makulong na mga perpetrators, makalusot pa sila due to legal technicalities," he explained.

[Translation: If you cut procedures short, you might botch the case. And instead of jailing the perpetrators, they'll be able to evade charges due to legal technicalities.]

Zubiri also said the lawyers of Castillo's parents are happy with Solano's tell-all, as they now have leads to those directly involved in their son's death.

The death of Castillo has prompted a review in both houses of Congress of Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law. The House Justice Committee's Subcommittee on Prosecutorial Reforms on Tuesday approved a bill proposing amendments to the law.

CNN Philippines' Correspondents Cecille Lardizabal and Rex Remitio contributed to this report.