Atio death certificate proves he died of heart disease – hazing suspect

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

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 28) — A primary suspect in the hazing death of Horacio "Atio" Castillo III insists he died of a pre-existing heart disease.

John Paul Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity and a licensed medical technologist, on Friday showed a copy of Castillo's death certificate.

It showed that the cause of death was Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), an inherited disease where the heart muscle thickens. According to medical articles, it is the most common heart-related cause of sudden death in young adults.

Solano's lawyer Paterno Esmaquel even highlighted the findings in the copy he gave to CNN Philippines. He said the findings are consistent with the medico legal report.


Esmaquel said they already requested a copy of Castillo's histopathological exam, which could show changes in one's tissues due to a disease.

Solano's camp stands by its claim, even after it angered some lawmakers, with Senator Joel Villanueva calling it a "mockery of justice."

Castillo, a 22-year-old University of Santo Tomas law student, was killed after a supposed "welcoming party" or hazing rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity on September 16.

Read: Timeline: The case of Horacio Castillo III

Castillo's parents insist their son was healthy, saying he was an active  football player. They added Castillo underwent a medical checkup before he entered the university, and was declared in good health.

Police said the cause of death was "severe blunt traumatic injuries."

They added Castillo had hematoma or bruises on both upper arms, as well as marks of candle wax drips all over his body.

This was confirmed by one of the hazing suspects Marc Ventura who said Castillo lost consciousness when he was hit by a paddle for the fifth time during the initiation rites.

He claimed Castillo was tortured by more than 10 fraternity members who punched the student, then hit him with meter-long paddles multiple times, and woke him from unconsciousness with candle drippings in a span of up to four hours.

Ventura willingly went to the Department of Justice this week to receive protection as he revealed details of what happened the day Castillo was killed.

Read more: Aegis Juris president struck final blow that rendered Atio unconscious – state witness