MANILA - (UPDATED) Two policemen took the body of slain law freshman Horacio Castillo III from the hospital after he was pronounced dead, an officer of the Chinese General Hospital said Wednesday.
"There were 2 homicide detectives from the police station who told us that they will claim the body for autopsy. That’s the reason the hospital released the body to them," Dr. Nestor Garcia, an Emergency Room Medical Officer in the said hospital, told lawmakers.
"They came also with a funeral service and they took the body from us," he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, during the legislative investigation into Castillo's death, said he wanted to establish if the 22-year-old would have survived if he was brought to the hospital sooner.
Dr. Clarisse Cladera, the resident on duty when John Paul Solano brought Castillo to the emergency room, said they tried to resuscitate the patient but he did not respond to the medication and oxygen.
Upon their examination, she said, they noted that Castillo, then unidentified, sustained hematomas on both upper extremities and candle wax dripping on the chest, on the arms, and on the left thigh.
He was declared dead at around 9:21 a.m. of September 17, she said.
The police medico legal said they could not estimate Castillo's time of death because his cadaver was already embalmed when they received it.
Garcia said the position of the hospital is to keep the body until a relative will claim; "but the patient came in as Mr. X, as told to us by Mr. Solano (that) he doesn’t know him."
C/Supt. Joel Coronel, chief of the Manila Police District, said in instances where the victim is identified, the next of kin determines which funeral parlor will be availed of for post-mortem and autopsy examinations.
However, in Castillo's case, the body was unidentified and was identified at that time as victim of murder or homicide.
"The action taken by our homicide division then was to inform the accredited funeral parlor, Archangel, regarding this matter and that's why they proceeded in the hospital to retrieve the body," said Coronel.
Castillo, who was supposed to join the Aegis Jvris Fraternity in the University of Sto. Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, died due to massive injuries consistent with hazing, according to an autopsy report.
Murder, obstruction of justice, and robbery charges have been filed against several members of the fraternity, including Solano.