MANILA, Philippines – Aegis Juris fraternity member John Paul Solano, one of the suspects in the death of neophyte Horacio Castillo III, accused Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 53 Presiding Judge Reynaldo Alhambra of falsification of documents.
Solano filed on Wednesday, October 25, a motion for inhibition against Alhambra, claiming the judge falsified the application for a search warrant on the Aegis Juris fraternity library in Manila. (READ: How Aegis Juris fratmen are defending themselves in Atio Castillo slay case)
The court instantly denied the motion for inhibition, but Solano's lawyer Paterno Esmaquel said they would file a motion for reconsideration.
"He (The judge) did not say a reason, he himself cannot explain why there are two certified true copies of the application for search warrant," Esmaquel said.
Alhambra was the one who issued the search warrant which, according to photos obtained by Rappler, yielded evidence including a paddle widely believed to have been used in the hazing of Castillo.
Solano's camp pointed out that the application for search warrant filed by Police Officer 2 Edgardo Medrano of the Manila Police District (MPD) did not have Alhambra's signature.
This had also been pointed out in the first motion to quash filed by Solano. Other grounds include an address indicated on the search warrant different from the exact location of the fraternity library.
Solano's camp said that after the MPD filed its opposition to their motion, they noticed that the annexed application for search warrant already had Alhambra's signature.
They attached the first certified true copy they obtained from the court on October 6, and the second certified true copy they got on October 23.
"It suddenly appears from the records of the case as if it is a manna from heaven the 2nd Certified True Copy of the Application for Search Warrant where it appears now that it was signed and subscribed before Judge Alhambra," their motion reads.
Both are shown below:
Photos courtesy of Solano camp
Solano's camp added that an entire paragraph was inserted into the second version of the application, a paragraph which wasn't on the first document. The difference is shown here:
Photos courtesy of Solano camp
Solano's camp accused Alhambra of giving the police unwarranted benefits, which is punishable under the anti-graft law. Essentially, they want the search warrant to be quashed and all evidence from the fraternity library to be inadmissible.
Medrano and MPD's legal officer Rico Betic refused to be interviewed.
Meanwhile, Solano declined to comment on the tell-all testimony of his fraternity brother Mark Ventura, who has turned state witness.
Solano refuses to comment on latest development of frat brother Marc Ventura becoming witness pic.twitter.com/pWlmk74Dk0 — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) October 25, 2017
"Insofar as John Paul Solano is concerned, I'm still confident that he is innocent," Esmaquel said.
Solano earlier gave his own testimony where he named 6 fratmen present on the morning of September 17, when he came to the fraternity library to try and revive Castillo.
In his counter-affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, October 24, Solano said the medico-legal report showed that Castillo died due to a pre-existing heart condition, and not due to hazing. Castillo's parents, however, said their son did not have a heart ailment and was even an athlete. – Rappler.com