Senators dismayed over Solano’s testimony on alleged cause of Atio’s death

UNTV News   •   October 26, 2017   •   3944

John Paul Solano

John Paul Solano, one of the primary suspects in the Atio Castillo hazing case.


MANILA, Philippines – The Senators did not expect the testimony submitted by John Paul Solano, the primary suspect in the death of hazing victim – Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Solano said that Castillo had a pre-existing heart ailment and he may have died of cardiac arrest.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was first to express dismay over the said statement and said that the people cannot be fooled by Solano who is simply out to save himself from the death of Atio.

Zubiri also said it is clear that Solano and his lawyers are just conjuring excuses.

Senator Chiz Escudero has the same sentiments on the issue.

“Ang tanong, ano ang proximate cause nung cardiac arrest at malamang ang isasagot ng medico legal ay yung hazing o pambubugbog na ginawa sa kaniya (The question is, what was the proximate cause of his cardiac arrest? For sure the medico-legal would say it was the hazing or the beating done to him),” Escudero said.

For Senator Escudero, Solano should not be considered as a state witness.

“Well pinapakita lamang dito na hindi siya pwedeng maging state witness na tinitimbang sana noon, dahil maliwanag na pinili na niya ang panig niya, at ang panig na yun, ay yung panig ng kaniyang fraternity at mga brod niya (It only shows  that he [Solano]can not become a state witness contrary to what was being considered before because clearly, he has chosen a side, and it is the side of the fraternity and his ‘brothers’) ,” Escudero added.

At present, Arvin Balag, the alleged leader of Aegis Juris Fraternity, is detained at the Senate for contempt as he refused to respond to the last Senate inquiry. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue


Aegis Juris fratman found guilty of obstruction of justice in Atio hazing death

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2019

John Paul Solano

Aegis Juris fratman John Paul Solano has been found guilty of obstruction of justice over the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law student Horacio ‘Atio’ Castillo III.

Solano is guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice and was sentenced by the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 14 to a minimum of two years and 4 months up to 4 years and two months in prison.

“Considering that he allowed himself to be left behind asserting his desires to attend to Castillo, and he, in fact, saw those who brought Castillo to the hospital leave, nothing would prevent him from refusing to follow the supposed instructions or get lost in the hospital or from speaking the truth to the police officers who arrived to investigate,” the decision reads.

The court, meanwhile, acquitted him for perjury.

READ: Man who brought slain UST law student to hospital, considered a ‘person of interest’

Solano led the convoy that took Atio to the Chinese General Hospital when Atio was severely injured after undergoing hazing. Solano then reported the incident to authorities but identified himself as a stranger who found Atio.

“It is clear that he gave false and fabricated information to mislead the police or prevent them from apprehending those responsible for the death of Castillo,” as stated in the court’s decision.

Atio’s parents, meanwhile, are satisfied with the court’s verdict but they said the battle for justice is not yet over.

READ: Fratmen’s “cover-up attempt” revealed through a group chat presented in Senate

“Hopefully we will file cases again sa mga kasama—even iyong mga lawyers iyong mga involved sa cover up, (Hopefully, we will file cases again against the other members and even the lawyers who were involved in the cover-up),” said Atio’s father Horacio Castillo Jr.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Lacson to file resolution seeking vote of confidence on SP Sotto

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson has drafted a resolution that aimed at assuring that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will keep his leadership in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

He said the idea came from Senator Manny Pacquiao.

“Actually, the idea was originally proposed by Sen Manny Pacquiao. The resolution to be routed is about a vote of confidence in the leadership of SP Sotto,” Lacson said.

He added that this move was prompted by the “insinuations made by Senators-elect Marcos and Tolentino for a leadership change for whatever motives they have — whether it’s posturing to get their desired committee chairmanships or serious attempts to elect a new Senate leader.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had also refused to further comment on the issue that floats the name of Senator Cynthia Villar in the Senate presidency.

“I won’t comment on the push for Senator Villar by the newly elected senators as I’m close to both Villar and Sotto. However, my last conversation with Tita Cynthia was that she was not interested. And, yes, I will sign the Manifesto for SP Sotto,” Zubiri said.

Villar had earlier on signified that she has no interest on the said position.

Read: Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

The minority, on the other hand, said they are not going to meddle on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the selection of the Senate President is in the hands of the majority bloc. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Senators fear rise in unemployment if TRAIN 2 pushes through

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A Senate committee hearing

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Several senators have expressed concerns over the possible impacts of the package two of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law being pushed by the Duterte administration.

Under the said proposal, the corporate tax will be gradually reduced to 20 percent from 30 percent.

Tax incentives given to some sectors will also be changed.

Lawmakers fear this might lead to mass layoffs and investment losses when enacted into law.

“We should stay that momentum sa pagbaba po ng inflation before we come up with the new tax measures or tax proposal that would scar the investor or pullout investors from existing companies in the Philippines, because what we don’t want to happen is a perfect storm na mataas ang inflation tapos may loss of jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

Zubiri said further study is needed before this bill can be passed.

He added that the measure is not among the senate’s priority agenda when Congress resumes its regular sessions next week.

 “We are appealing to the department of finance that let us study first this measure carefully, we can pass the other measure, TRAIN 3, TRAIN 4 that are not inflationary,” he said.

 The Department of Finance (DOF), however, allays lawmakers’ fears saying the TRAIN 2’s effects are contrary to their concerns.

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua argued that under the second package, investments and jobs will even grow and higher incentives will be given to firms who will invest in poor provinces.

“What we hope is to encourage registered corporations to get more and better jobs, more efficient and more competitive locate in the countryside, introduce innovation and to invest in agribusiness…kaya yung allegations na Package 2 or Trabaho (bill) will lead to lost of investment , closure of business, job losses and inflationary, sa tingin po namin , based on our proposal ay hindi po totoo,” Chua explained.

The DOF further noted that 645 corporations or 336 sectors have benefited from tax incentives.

Chua added that the administration just wants to level the playing field for all Filipinos and investors.

“At hindi natin alam kung magkano nakuha nila at wala pong libreng incentive, kung may nakinabang tulad ng 0 tax , reduced tax, ibig sabihin may nagbabayad niyan. Normally ang ordinaryong pilipino ang nagbabayad,” he noted.

The DOF believes they will be able to enlighten lawmakers on the provisions of the measure when the senate continues its deliberation in the coming weeks. – Nel Maribojoc


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