A fraternity neophyte on Wednesday positively identified some of the persons of interest allegedly involved in the hazing of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig, Jonathan Andal reported on Unang Balita on Thursday.
Roi dela Cruz said he and Salilig — whose body was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite, a week after he was last seen alive — underwent initiation and welcome rites, respectively, together in Biñan, Laguna.
The report said Dela Cruz went to Biñan Police on Wednesday night and identified six persons of interest who were invited to the police station to give their respective statements regarding the hazing incident.
According to Dela Cruz, during the initiation rites, he heard someone asking Salilig if he was okay and the chemical engineering student saying, “Okay lang ako [I am okay].”
Dela Cruz said his recruiters told him he would only receive 12 to 24 paddles during his initiation rites considering that there is already a law against hazing.
However, Dela Cruz said he received around 70 paddles. He said the suspects also poured wax from a burning candle on his body and removed it by whipping him using a belt.
Based on the autopsy, Salilig’s cause of death was “severe blunt force in the lower extremities,” the report said.
“Lahat po full swing pero may isang nagbigay po ng... Iniisip ko na what if mag-quit na lang ako kasi baka mamatay ako baka hindi ko kayanin. Siguro mga 20, parang ayoko na. Masakit po talaga,” Dela Cruz said.
(All of the paddles were full swings and one person gave…no, thank you. I thought of quitting after 20 paddles because I could die. It was really painful.)
One of the persons of the interest Dela Cruz identified was the leader of the Tau Gamma Phi - Adamson University chapter, Tung Cheng Teng Jr.
Biñan Police acting chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Virgilio Jopia considered the case as “solved”.
“By the arrest of the most or officers of this fraternity chapter, we can consider this case solved, but not case closed. I am convinced we have an airtight case,” he said.
The police also tracked the house where the hazing took place in Barangay Casile in Biñan. According to the police, Dela Cruz and another witness identified the house, which is reportedly owned by the parents of one of the fraternity members.
According to the police, the persons of interest asked Tau Gamma members in Biñan for the venue of the initiation and welcome rites because they could not find a place in Manila.
The police are still trying to find the paddle used on Salilig even though a witness said that it was already burned.
The police are set to file a complaint with the Department of Justice against the six arrested fraternity members for violation of anti-hazing law on Thursday morning.
Eight other persons of interest are still at large, according to the police.
Salilig's family said they are determined to pursue a legal case against the persons of interest, noting that the fraternity members could have brought John Matthew to a hospital.
“Hindi makatao ang ginawa ng grupong ito. I would say inhuman. Inabuso nila yung anak ko in the first place. When i saw the picture of my son doon sa grave kung san nila tinapon yung anak ko talagang I was really hurt ,” said Jeofrey Salilig, the victim's father.
(What this group did was inhuman. They abused my son. When I saw the picture of my son when he was found on the grave where they dumped him, I was really hurt.)
A separate report by John Consulta on Unang Balita said the police obtained CCTV footage where Salilig could be seen inside a bus on his way to Biñan on February 18.
CCTV footage also showed two of the suspects on board a motorcycle carrying the suspected paddle.
An SUV used to transport fraternity members was found in the house of the parents of one of the suspects, Aaron Cruz, in Parañaque City. It was tagged as evidence by the police.
According to the police, Salilig sat on the passenger side of the SUV and when the suspects noticed that he was already lifeless, they transferred him to the compartment of a second vehicle.
The police filed a complaint against the father of Cruz for obstruction of justice.
According to a separate report of Chino Gaston on Unang Balita, the police are now checking if there is a person of interest residing in Imus, Cavite considering that Salilig’s body was found there.
Adamson University students on Wednesday wore black as they condoled with Salilig’s family. The student government also held a requiem Mass for him. —KBK, GMA Integrated News