Senate allows public release of Solano testimony in executive session
MANILA, Philippines – Voting unanimously, the Senate allowed the public release of the statements made in an executive session by hazing suspect John Paul Solano.
The Senate on Wednesday, October 11, adopted Senate Resolution 529, sponsored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The resolution authorizes the chairpersons of the two Senate committees conducting the probe into the fatal hazing to "make public" the testimony of Solano last September 25.
Senator Panfilo Lacson is the chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, while Senator Richard Gordon is the chairman of the committee on justice and human rights.
"Mr Solano, during the executive session and in the presence of counsel, divulged vital information that will help the authorities solve the case, prosecute the culprits and give justice to the death of Atio Castillo," the resolution reads.
"Despite the two preliminary investigations conducted by the prosecutors of the Department of Justice and since the Senate hearing on 25 September 2017, Mr Solano has yet to execute a sworn statement and make public all personal knowledge he has on the death of Atio Castillo."
Zubiri said all 23 senators back the resolution. According to him, senators Grace Poe and Leila de Lima were unable to sign but have expressed support for it.
Zubiri, citing Senate rules, explained that information presented in an executive session should not be made public "unless authorized by the committee" and authorized through a two-thirds vote of the chamber.
"In this case, it is unanimous," Zubiri said.
Solano is one of the primary suspects in the killing of Castillo. He earlier told police that he found Castillo dumped on a pavement in Tondo, Manila and immediately brough him to the Chinese General Hospital.
It was, however, later on found that Solano himself is a member of Aegis Juris, which had recruited Castillo.
During the Senate hearing, Solano said a fraternity brother told him to lie to authorities. He also claimed he was not present during the initiation rites and that other members just called him for help.
In an executive session with senators, Solano named 6 fraternity brothers and one non-member behind Castillo's killing.
Present in the executive session were Zubiri, Lacson, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian. – Rappler.com
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