MANILA — The parents of slain University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horatio ‘Atio’ Castillo III are set to meet President Rodrigo Duterte next week, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed on Thursday.
Aguirre met Atio’s parents, Horatio Jr. and Carmina, on Thursday morning, a day after he was laid to rest.
The Castillos asked for the Justice Secretary’s help to meet with President Duterte, which was eventually granted and set for October 4.
“They are requesting kung maaari, i-arrange kay Pres. Duterte na magkaroon ng audience kahit ilang sandali lang. Mabuti naman, I was able to arrange it and the Palace scheduled the visit or courtesy call together with the (parents) at kapatid ni Atio sa Wednesday afternoon (They are requesting to arrange even just a short audience with Pres. Duterte. Good enough, I was able to arrange it and the Palace scheduled the visit or courtesy call together with (Atio’s) parents and his sibling on Wednesday afternoon),” Aguirre told reporters in chance interview on Thursday.
Asked on what they want to say to the President, Aguirre answered “Gusto lang sigurong humingi ng tulong sa Pangulo na sana mabigyan sila ng katarungan at hindi magkaroon ng miscarriage of justice. Alam nila that the people behind (the case) are moneyed and influential.” (Probably they want to ask help from the President to seek justice so that there won’t be miscarriage of justice. They know that the people behind the case are moneyed and influential.)
Aguirre said the Castillos are not rich, adding that the education of the slain law student was being supported by his uncle who is a doctor.
He also revealed that one of their relatives has already received threats, but did not give details.
During their meeting on Thursday, Aguirre said the Castillo family also thanked the DOJ for helping resolve the case through issuing a lookout bulletin order (LBO) against the suspects to prevent them from leaving the country and ordering the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe and do a case build-up on the incident.
Aguirre also advised the Castillo family not to worry about the release of John Paul Solano, the primary suspect in the case.
The DOJ issued on Wednesday afternoon a resolution ordering the release of Solano over invalid arrest and inquest proceedings by the police.
“In-explain ko lang sa kanila na sa paningin ng aming NPS (National Prosecution Service), mga senador, talagang hindi inquestable yung kaso. Kaya pinaliwanag ko sa kanila yun na angreason kung bakit siya pinalaya. Sabi ko wag sila mag-alala dahil mabilis naman ang takbo ng hearing. Naka-set na sa October 4 kaya sabi ko kumuha na lang sila kaagad ng abugado kasi up to now wala pa silang abugado. (I explained to them that in the eyes of the National Prosecustion Service and the senators, the case is not inquestable. That is the reason why he (Solano) was released. The hearing is set on October 4 so I told them to get a lawyer because up to now, they still do not have one.),” Aguirre noted.
Aguirre said the LBO against 20 suspects would remain despite the finding of prosecutors that they could not be arrested at this point and even subjected to inquest proceedings.
“What we issued is lookout bulletin and not an arrest warrant. Actually, any one of them can leave the country because up to now there is no warrant of arrest yet. But they would be prevented from leaving in the sense that they would be require(d) (to) secure clearance by the immigration personnel,” he clarified.
Ralph Trangia, another primary suspect, reportedly fled to Chicago a couple of days after the incident and before the LBO was issued.
The police have already filed charges of murder, violations of Republic Act 8049 (Anti-Hazing Law), perjury, obstruction of justice and robbery before the DOJ against Solano and 17 other suspects. (PNA)