Suspects in UST hazing death face criminal raps

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2017 04:27 PM

MANILA - Authorities have filed criminal charges against several suspects in the alleged hazing death of University of Sto. Tomas law freshman and Aegis Jvris initiate Horacio Castillo III before the Department of Justice Monday.

John Paul Solano, a member of the embattled fraternity, was brought to the DOJ by the Manila Police District (MPD) Crimes Against Persons Investigation Section to undergo inquest proceedings for murder, violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 8049 (Anti-Hazing Law), perjury, robbery, and obstruction of justice.

Solano is being detained at the Manila Police District, following his voluntary surrender on Friday, September 22.

Charged along with Solano for murder, violation of RA No. 8049, and robbery are the following:

-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;
-Jose Miguel Salamat;
-Antonio Arizala Trangia (father of Ralph);
-and "several other unidentified members of the Aegis Jvris and Regina Sorority Fraternity (at large).

Mrs. Rosemarie Trangia (mother of Ralph) was charged along with Solano with obstruction of justice.

The complaint stated that the alleged hazing incident took place on September 17, between 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 am, inside the Aegis Jvris Foundation Office located at No. 1247 Navarra corner Laong Laan Streets, Sampaloc, Manila.

The complaint stated that contrary to his earlier statement to policemen that he discovered Castillo’s body on a pavement in Tondo and brought him to the Chinese General Hospital (CGH) in Sta. Cruz, Manila, a CCTV footage obtained by police investigators actually established him as being part of a convoy that took Castillo’s body from the Augis Jvris Foundation office to the CGH.

“John Paul Solano, later established and confirmed also a member of the Aegis Jvris Fraternity, concocted a fabricated story disguised himself as a good Samaritan to deliberately and maliciously mislead the police investigators to cover up the crime they committed,” the complaint read.

SOLANO QUESTIONS INQUEST PROCEEDINGS, DEMANDS RELEASE

Mr. and Mrs. Horacio and Carminia Castillo appeared in the hearing and subscribed to investigating prosecutor Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Villanueva.

When Solano was called to subscribe to his “judicial affidavit,” the statement he issued to policemen regarding his “discovery” of Castillo’s body in Tondo, Solano’s counsel, Atty. Paterno Esmaquel, stood to question the conduct of the inquest proceedings.

Solano’s camp insists the inquest was “irregular” because Solano voluntarily surrendered to “cooperate” in the investigation into Castillo’s death, and he was not subject of a warrantless arrest.

“We object to the conduct of inquest because my client was not a subject of warrantless arrest; he voluntarily surrendered. If he is not subject of warrantless arrest, he cannot be subject of inquest,” Esmaquel argued.

“He is now being illegally detained,” he added.

This argument is contained in Solano’s omnibus motion, which emphasized that “the instant case against [Solano] and/or any other case against him resulting from the untimely death of the late Horacio is not and cannot be the proper subject of an inquest proceeding; otherwise, there will be an open and gross violation of [Solano’s] right to a regular preliminary investigation of the case or cases against him.”

Solano had earlier written the MPD demanding his immediate release and withdrawing his waiver of detention.

Solano’s camp further explained the charges agasint him "is a complex crime involving crime mala in se (naturally evil as adjudged by the sense of a civilized community) and mala prohibita (wrong only because a law makes it so)."

“Sad to say, however, there can be no complex crime if one offense is punished by a special law since both offenses must be defined and punished by the same statute,” Solano’s motion read.

MPD District Director Joel Coronel, however, told reporters Solano is not being accused of a complex crime but of five separate offenses.

The DOJ did not rule on Solano’s motion, and instead told all parties the inquest resolution will include the ruling. The resolution will be out on Monday or Tuesday, Villanueva and OIC George Catalan, Jr. said.

Castillo’s death once again echoed calls for a stop to hazing activities.

The Senate will begin its probe into the allegedly fatal hazing incident at 6pm, Monday.