Lacson: If Atio Castillo had heart condition, why was he still hazed?
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday, November 6, questioned the claim of Aegis Juris fratman John Paul Solano that hazing victim Horacio "Atio" Castillo III died of a pre-existing heart condition, and not of hazing.
"Kung mayroon siyang pre-existing heart condition – not you, but the others who participated – hindi ba lalong masama 'yun? Kung alam mo na 'yung pre-existing heart condition, sinubject mo pa sa extreme pain?" Lacson told Solano during Monday's Senate hearing.
(If indeed he had a pre-existing heart condition – not you, but the others who participated – isn't that worse? If you knew he had a pre-existing heart condition, yet you still subjected him to extreme pain?)
Lacson said this after Senator Grace Poe grilled Solano about his counter-affidavit, where he quoted the medico-legal report as saying that Castillo had a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
But the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said that the neophyte's cause of death was severe blunt traumatic injuries, and that Solano had cited a provisional anatomic diagnosis – not the final autopsy report.
"What Solano is trying to say is the provisional anatomic diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy because the heart is enlarged during autopsy and there's traumatic injuries of right and left upper extremities," said Superintendent Joseph Palmero, the chief medico-legal of the PNP Crime Laboratory.
He added: "Those are provisional anatomic diagnosis, but we released after several days, we released the final medico-legal report. Cause of death is severe blunt traumatic injuries."
But Solano defended his claim, saying that as early as October 5, they already sought clarification from the police but did not get anything.
"Wala naman po talaga akong idea ano pong pinagdaanan ni Atio tapos late din po dumating 'yung mga certificates, medico-legal, since ano pong gagawin kong defense, kinasuhan nila ako ng murder?" he added.
(I really didn't have an idea about what Atio went through, and then the certificates, the medico-legal were late, so what would be my defense after they charged me with murder?)
In a chance interview after the hearing, Lacson said Solano lost the sympathy of Castillo's parents when his testimony changed.
"I was talking to [Solano's] father…. Sabi niya, 'Bakit nagkagano'n, na parang ngayon macha-charge 'yung anak ko?' Sabi ko, 'Kasalanan din ng anak mo.' Because at the outset, siya ang pinaka-qualified sana na mag-state witness because after all, pinabayaan din siya ng mga brods niya, he was left on his own."
(I was talking to Solano's father. He said, "Why will my son be charged?" I said, "It's also your son's fault." Because at the outset, he was the most qualified to become a state witness because after all, his fraternity brothers also left him on his own.)
Lacson added: "Noong una nga, ang attitude namin sa kanya, biktima rin siya because after all he was not present, but he could be part doon sa complicity."
(At first, our attitude was that he's also a victim because after all he was not present, but he could be part of the complicity.) – Rappler.com