John Paul Solano, a member of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, was called by his fraternity brothers to try to revive neophyte Horacio "Atio" Castillo III. In his counter-affidavit filed before the DOJ, he claimed that Castillo died due to a pre-existing heart condition.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File
Court convicts fratman Solano over Atio’s fatal hazing case
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 17, 2019 - 9:31am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 11:35 a.m.) — A Manila court found Aegis Juris fraternity member John Paul Solano guilty of obstruction of justice over the fatal hazing of neophyte Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

The Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 14 found Solano guilty beyond reasonable doubt on obstruction of justice but acquitted him of perjury.

Judge Carolina Esguerra penned the ruling.

Solano was identified as the person who brought Castillo’s lifeless body to the Chinese General Hospital the morning of Sept. 17, 2017.

He initially told authorities that he only found Castillo’s body sprawled at a sidewalk in Balut, Tondo.

Obstruction of justice

In his defense, Solano said he did not intend to mislead the police when he gave his initial statement. He said he was under the instruction of Aegis Juris member Arvin Balag and he also feared that he would be implicated in Castillo's death.

“As the investigation progressed to show that the body of Castillo was nowhere in the area pointed to by the accused under the circumstances in which he supposedly found him, and he later admitting that he gave the incorrect lead to the police though he claims he did so under uncontrollable fear, it is clear that he gave false and fabricated information to mislead the police or prevent them from apprehending those responsible for the death of Castillo,” the ruling read.

The court also said Solano’s claims that he was under threat was unsubstantiated.

The court added that Solano’s fear of being implicated in Castillo’s death “is not as imminent as he believed, and is even speculative at that.” 

“Thus, his defense that he acted under the impulse of uncontrollable fear for his life or limb has no leg to stand on,” it added.

Perjury

The court, however, dismissed the charge of perjury against Solano as it noted that there were inconsistencies on the police’s supposed safekeeping of the judicial affidavit.

“To the mind of this Court, these inconsistencies seriously put to doubt the administration of accused’s oath,” the ruling stated.

"That part of the first element of the offense that the accused made a statement under oath was not proven beyond reasonable doubt," the court added.

Solano is sentenced to serve up to four years, two months and one day in court.

Atio’s parents welcome conviction

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Carmina and Horacio Castillo II said they welcome Solano’s conviction of obstruction of justice.

They said the ruling proves that there is a cover-up in their son’s death.

"We have a first conviction, at least it proves that they committed obstruction, they concealed, they lied,” Carmina said in a mix of English and Filipino.

They added that they are looking into filing more complaints of obstruction of justice against those included in the group chat of supposed Aegis Juris fraternity members and alumni that discussed Castillo’s death.

AEGIS JURIS FRATERNIY HORACIO CASTILLO III
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