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Guard holds key to frat hazing death

THE testimony of a security guard will strengthen the charges against members of the Aegis Juris fraternity in the death of University of Sto. Tomas law student Horacio Castillo III, the Manila Police District (MPD) said Sunday.

A security guard voluntarily went to authorities and identified one of the fraternity members he saw at the Aegis Juris library when the supposed hazing of Castillo took place.

Castillo, a 22-year-old law freshman, died of a massive heart attack on Sept. 17 as a result of injuries sustained from hazing.

Castillo was buried Wednesday at the Manila Memorial Park.

The MPD also said the security guard did not request any protection from them as he has not received any threats, but they assured him that they would protect him if needed.

The MPD is expecting other suspects to surface on Oct. 4, the start of the preliminary investigation into Castillo's death.

The results of the forensic examination on the pieces of evidence obtained inside the fraternity library will be released this week.

Police investigators on Thursday found three paddles, several drops of blood and candles inside the frat library located at Laon-Laan-Navarra Street.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
They were unable to get any CCTV footage outside the library, however, because the hard drives of the cameras had been removed.

The Justice Department renewed its call for those with personal knowledge of the fatal hazing to come forward and help the authorities prosecute those responsible for Castillo's death.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assured witnesses they would be secure under the government’s Witness Protection Program.

"Whoever has information of what really happened (during the hazing) could just reach out to the DOJ or NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and I assure them of protection under WPP," Aguirre said.

The DOJ chief admitted that the NBI, which has been tasked to conduct a parallel probe on Castillo's death, still has no witness in its custody. 

"Witnesses and their testimonies are very crucial in criminal cases, especially during trial where they can establish the guilt of the accused, especially when corroborated and supported by physical evidence," he stressed.

 Aguirre earlier revealed that there were two potential witnesses who went to his office earlier, but no longer returned due to fear for their lives.

The Manila Police District (MPD) earlier detained John Paul Solano, who was tagged as primary suspect, after he surrendered a week after the incident.

Solano and 17 others were charged before the DOJ last Sept. 25. But he was ordered released from detention by the DOJ last Sept. 27 after finding that the arrest and inquest proceedings by the police were improper.

Solano earlier told police he discovered the body of Castillo in Tondo and broughtt i to the hospital only to admit later in a Senate inquiry that he was called by his fraternity brothers to revive the "half-dead" Solano after hazing rites.

He has not submitted any affidavit yet to the police. The family of Castillo have expressed doubts on his credibility after he gave inconsistent statements.

Topics: Aegis Juris fraternity , Horacio Castillo III , Manila Police District (MPD) , Security guard , Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II , Hazing
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