WATCH | Solano’s closed-door testimony read in Senate

John Paul Solano (file photo by Edd Gumban, PhilStar)

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 10:59 a.m.) The testimony John Paul Solano gave to the Senate in executive session was read in public at the resumption on Wednesday, October 18, of the inquiry into the hazing death of Horatio Castillo III.

Before a redacted transcript of Solano’s testimony was read, he was berated by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who asked him a number of times, “Ginagago mo ba ang aming committee (Are you making fools of this committee)?”

Solano explained that he did not submit his sworn affidavit because he wanted to invoke his right against self-incrimination as he was undergoing preliminary investigation after the parents of Castillo filed a supplemental complaint.

The disclosure of Solano’s September 25 testimony was in compliance with Senate Resolution 529, sponsored by Zubiri and approved unanimously, after the Aegis Juris fraternity member failed to submit his sworn affidavit of what he knew about the death of Castillo.

Solano did not participate in the initiation rites that led to Castillo’s death but he was summoned to provide assistance after the freshman law student of the University of Sto. Tomas collapsed from his injuries.

He was the one who delivered Castillo to the emergency room of the Chinese General Hospital, claiming he had found the law student unconscious in Balut, Tondo, the morning of September 17.

Aside from what he had disclosed earlier in public, Solano’s testimony also revealed that the Aegis Juris members who called him up and insisted he come and help revive Castillo that morning had also ordered him to stay behind at the hospital with the fatally injured neophyte.

Solano said he initially refused to do so since he had no participation in the hazing of Castillo but eventually did so after he went into what he described as “mental block.”

He also said he stuck by the claim of discovering Castillo in Tondo, as he was allegedly instructed to do, when he gave a statement to Manila Police homicide investigators, since it was “not sworn.”

When Senator Panfilo Lacson asked the Aegis Juris members who attended Tuesday’s hearing if this was how they treated their fraternity brothers, all of them replied, “No.”