MANILA - The final autopsy on Horacio "Atio" Castillo III shows the law freshman died of "severe blunt traumatic injuries" on both his upper limbs, police revealed during a Senate probe on the 22-year-old's death.
This was contrary to the claim of suspect John Paul Solano, citing a medico legal report, that Castillo died of a pre-existing heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
"The final autopsy report signed by the medico legal officer says the cause of death is 'severe blunt traumatic injuries, both upper limbs.' That is the cause of death," police medico legal officer, Dr. Joseph Palmero said Monday.
He said what Solano claimed was only a "provisional anatomic diagnosis" and not the official cause of death.
Dr. Clarisse Cledera, the doctor who attended to Castillo at the Chinese General Hospital, agreed with the autopsy report, recalling the severe injuries they saw on Atio's body.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, quoting the affidavit of Aegis Jvris fraternity member Marc Ventura, earlier said Aegis Jvris members repeatedly punched Castillo, hit him with a spatula, and struck him with a paddle.
"Meron silang term na ‘hangga’t hindi pumuputok’ yung kaniyang braso, tuloy-tuloy lang sila ng pagsuntok," said Aguirre, adding that Ventura has identified "many" of those who participated.
Then when Castillo's arms were already swollen, these were hit with spatula to "calm" the muscles, he said.
The last step, Ventura had claimed, was paddling. An incoming member was supposed to be hit 10 times with the paddle, but a leader or a solo newbie will receive 11 strikes.
"Nung third paddle against Atio, tinanong pa siya kung kaya pa niya. Sumagot pa ata si Atio na kaya pa niya. But in the fourth paddle, hindi na niya kaya and he collapsed already and unintelligible na yung kaniyang response; pag tinatanong siya, hindi na siya maka-respond, parang umuungol na lang siya," said Aguirre.
Meanwhile, Solano said his camp had been requesting a histopathological report from the authorities, which would clarify the cause of Atio's death, but nothing came until he filed his affidavit.
"Kaya kami nagre-request ng histopathological report regarding sa cause of death, kasi po if ever 'yun ang lumabas sa report idi-disregard namin 'yung HCM na provisional cause of death," he said.
Both Senators Panfilo Lacson and Migz Zubiri said it does not matter whether or not Atio had pre-existing a heart condition, saying death by illegal violence does not relieve the culprit of criminal liability.