crimes in the Philippines

Adamson student died of ‘severe blunt force trauma’ – autopsy report

Jairo Bolledo

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Adamson student died of ‘severe blunt force trauma’ – autopsy report

MOURNING. Students and faculty members of the Adamson University in Manila on March 1, 2023, light candles to honor John Matthew Salilig, a chemical engineering student, who was found dead on February 28 in Cavite after an alleged fraternity hazing rite.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

Imus police case investigator Staff Sergeant Jessie Villanueva says 3 of the 12 persons of interest in the case have already talked to police in Biñan, Laguna, and that one of them is a 'confirmed suspect'

MANILA, Philippines – John Matthew Salilig, the chemical engineering student from Adamson University believed to be a victim of hazing, died due to “severe blunt force trauma,” based on an autopsy conducted by Cavite police.

The autopsy report of the Cavite police’s crime laboratory office said that Salilig suffered blunt force trauma to the lower extremities.

Imus police case investigator Staff Sergeant Jessie Villanueva said Salilig could have sustained the injuries from the alleged hazing rites. Blunt impact injuries are cause by contact of a blunt object with the body.

“Siguro ito na ‘yong natamong pinsala sa likurang hita niya no’ng siya ay pinaddle, no’ng winelcome siya sa fraternity (Probably, these injuries at the back of his thighs are the ones he sustained when he was paddled during the fraternity’s welcoming rites),” Villanueva told Rappler on Thursday, March 2.

He added that the autopsy results corroborated the accounts of the person of interest.

So malaki ang probability na ito nga ay cause noong hazing na isinigawa (So there is a big probability that this was caused by the hazing),” Villanueva added.

On February 28, authorities discovered the body of the 24-year-old Salilig, in a vacant lot at the back of a subdivision in Imus, Cavite. His remains were found over a week after he was reported missing.

A witness said that the 24-year-old student was beaten at least 70 times during the initiation rites. Adamson University said in a statement on February 28 that Salilig died on February 18.

Persons of interest

On March 1, the police tagged at least 15 persons of interest in the case, based on a witness’ account.

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Police tag 15 persons of interest in alleged hazing death of Adamson student

Police tag 15 persons of interest in alleged hazing death of Adamson student

Villanueva told Rappler on Thursday that the police reduced this number to 12 individuals, and that three of them had already talked to police in Biñan, Laguna – one of them, a “confirmed suspect.”

“‘Yong tatlo doon, nakausap din nila. Doon sa tatlo, ‘yong isa do’n, confirmed na suspect (Three of the persons of interest had already talked to the police. Of the three, one is a confirmed suspect),” he said.

Villanueva said the other two will be evaluated by Biñan prosecutors to determine it they can be considered witnesses or suspects.

The nine other persons of interest are also under evaluation. Cops are also seeking further information about these persons of interest, Villanueva added.

He also said that they are coordinating with Cavite’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to request for a copy of the DNA test conducted on Salilig’s remains. This is to “scientifically” identify his remains through the DNA of his brother, Villanueva explained.

The victim’s brother had earlier positively identified Salilig’s remains.

Sa physical features niya, sinasabi niya na kapatid niya siya. Pero para po mas ma-confirm talaga, 100%, nag-conduct ng DNA testing ang SOCO ng Cavite (Based on his physical features, Salilig was identified by his brother. But to confirm 100%, Cavite SOCO conducted DNA testing),” Salilig added. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.