By MARIA EDEN T. DINO
AS FINAL autopsy revealed that UST law student Horacio Castillo III died of severe blunt traumatic injuries in both upper limbs, senators hit on Monday Aegis Juris Fraternity member John Paul Solano who claimed that the victim’s death resulted from a pre-existing heart condition.
“Noong unang mga labas mo naaawa ka sa bata (Castillo) tapos ngayon parang pinapagaan mo pa marahil ang mga naging responsibilidad ng mga kasamahan mo kaya isinisi mo pa sa atake sa puso,” Sen. Grace Poe told Solano in a senate hearing.
“Parang lumalabas pa sa iyong salaysay na siya pa ang may kasalanan sa kaniyang sariling pagkamatay dahil inatake siya sa puso,” she added.
Castillo’s parents denied in a previous interview that their son has any heart ailment.
Solano explained that he first thought Castillo’s death was due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or enlargement of the heart as shown in the preliminary report, similar to his claim in a counter affidavit he previously filed.
“Kahit naman po kami nagtataka bakit po ganoon ‘yung cause of death tapos iba po ‘yung sinabi nila noong previous senate hearing po,” he said.
Poe refuted Solano’s response. “Nagtataka ka pero sumasang-ayon ka din sa report? It’s contradicting ‘di ba? ‘Yung puso nga nakatago sa loob ng katawan pero ‘yung mga pasa kitang-kita pero hindi ‘yun ‘yung una mong sinasabing dahilan ng kaniyang pagkamatay?”
In defense, the frat man told the senator that he did not notice the injuries because Castillo was wearing his clothes.
Clarisse Cledera, the doctor who attended to Castillo, however confirmed that hematomas in both upper limbs with black and blue discoloration could be evident to the person who brought the victim in Chinese General Hospital.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson Sr. also hit Solano on his statement on Castillo’s cause of death.
“Namatay ‘yung tao. Masama pa rin lalo na kung alam ninyo na mayroon ngang pre-existing heart condition [at] sinubject niyo pa sa hazing,” Lacson said.
Solano and the other frat men involved in the hazing of Castillo do not have any excuse for their actions, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said. “You still committed a crime of hazing kaya ‘wag niyo nang dagdagan o insultohin pa ang pamilya Castillo.”
Criminal responsibility is held against the aggressor if illegal violence resulted in death or weakened the condition of the injured person, according to a previous case of homicide which Zubiri quoted during the hearing.
Castillo was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital on Sept. 17 after attending the “welcoming rites” of Aegis Juris.
Solano initially told authorities that he found an identified body on a sidewalk in Balut, Tondo. F