MANILA- Aegis Jvris fratman John Paul Solano has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reconsider its ruling to admit evidence obtained from the fraternity’s library in Sampaloc, Manila—where 'initiation rites” of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III took place.
In a 5-page motion for reconsideration, Solano said the assailed resolution, dated Oct. 26, 2017, of the DOJ panel of prosecutors, erred in finding presumption of regularity in the performance of duty in favor of the Manila Police District (MPD) which had implemented an “illegal” search warrant.
Solano, along with several of his fraternity brothers, face murder, violation of the Anti-Hazing Law, and obstruction of justice charges over Castillo’s alleged fatal hazing.
A University of Santo Tomas student, the 22-year-old Castillo was found dead by his parents on Sept. 17, a day after he asked
permission to attend the welcome rites of the Aegis Jvris fraternity.
“It bears to stress that the assailed [search warrant] was applied for and issued on the basis of alleged violation of Section 28 of Republic Act 8049, otherwise known as the Anti-Hazing Law. However, [RA 8049] does not have Section 28. [RA 8049] is limited only up to Section 7 thereof.'
“Clearly then, the assailed [search warrant] was issued for a non-existing offense,” the motion read.
Solano further said, "presumption of regularity of performance of official duty stands only when no reason exists in the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty.”
The same motion also urged the DOJ to reconsider its ruling that denied his plea for the striking out of his judicial affidavit taken by the MPD, which state he only chanced upon Castillo at a sidewalk in Tondo, Manila, and did not know him.
Solano said he did not subscribe to such affidavit “before any public officer authorized to administer oath,” even as the MPD argued Senior Inspector Rommel Anicete, the administering officer, may perform such function.
“Therefore, the principle of regularity in the performance of duty is not applicable in the instant case,” Solano's motion read.
In rejecting Solano’s plea to exclude evidence taken from the fraternity library, the DOJ investigating panel said it was not within its jurisdiction to determine whether the evidence gathered from the implementation of the search have been obtained illegally and subsequently exclude the same in the determination of probable cause, since jurisdiction rests with the trial court.
As to Solano’s second bid to strike out his judicial affidavit, the DOJ said “absent any evidence to the contrary, the MPD has in its favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty.”
"The only issue left for consideration is whether it was duly subscribed and sworn before a person authorized by law,” the resolution pointed out, as it explained that under Section 50 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, police officers with rank of inspector to senior superintendent have the “power to administer oaths on matters which are connected with the performance of their official duties.
The preliminary investigation into the complaint is being handled by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva, and Associate Prosecution Attorneys II Wendell Bendoval and Honey Rose Delgado.