DOJ starts preliminary probe on Arnaiz, De Guzman slays
Posted: 2017-Oct-10 12.00.02 UTC+0800
MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday started the preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed against two policemen and a taxi driver for their alleged involvement in the killing of the teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman.
During the hearing, the respondents, namely taxi driver Tomas Bagcal and Caloocan City policemen PO1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita appeared and received copies of the complaint for double murder, torture and planting of evidence under Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) filed against them by the parents of the two teenagers.
The parents of the victims, Carlito and Eva Arnaiz, and Eduardo Gabriel and Lina de Guzman, were assisted by Public Attorneys' Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta as they presented a new witness identified as Joel Cruz, an employee of the funeral service that picked up Carl's body from the crime scene.
"The testimony of Joel Cruz jibed with the findings of our forensic team when it comes to the time of death of Carl," Acosta told reporters after the hearing.
Acosta said they would oppose the bid of Bagcal, who is now under the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, to become a state witness.
Acosta stressed that the taxi driver no longer has credibility after changing his statements several times.
"We've heard five versions of the story from him. In his first version, he said the robbers used a handgun and then it later became a knife. He also keeps on changing the actual time of the incident," she stressed.
The PAO chief said they could still support Bagcal's bid to become state witness if he would tell the truth.
"He should just tell the truth. OWe always side with the truth so if he tells the truth we could even move to make him state witness," Acosta said.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Emilio Victorio gave the respondents in the case until October 19 to file their respective counter-affidavits in response to the accusations against them.
The complainants, meanwhile, have until October 23 to file their reply to the counter-affidavits of the respondents.
If they wanted to, the respondents can still file rejoinders on October 26 to answer the filed replies of the complainants after which the preliminary investigation is considered submitted for resolution.
Arnaiz, 19, and De Guzman, 14, who were neighbors in Cainta, Rizal went missing on August 18.
Caloocan City police claimed Arnaiz died during a shootout last August 18 when he resisted arrest and fired his handgun at the cops chasing after the alleged robbery.
Arnaiz's body was found at Ezekiel Funeral Homes weeks after he disappeared.
The eyewitness identified as alias "Daniel" pointed to probers the site where Arnaiz was killed by police along C-3 Road in Caloocan.
Daniel said he hid behind a lamppost when the police car pulled to a stop near the grassy area. He said there was also a young boy in the car, which was believed to be Kulot.
The witness, who saw how Arnaiz was killed by police, was already interrogated by the NBI for purposes of his WPP application, Acosta said.
In his affidavit, the witness said he saw police dragged Carl Angelo out of a police patrol car and was ordered to kneel on a grassy area. Holding up his bound wrists, the man pleaded to surrender but he was shot dead by two policemen.
A forensic exam on Arnaiz's cadaver showed that he was already kneeling when he was shot several times in the chest which suggests that he was "intentionally killed".
It also suggested that he was tortured before he was killed as his wrists were swollen and bore handcuff marks and his eyes were bruised.
De Guzman's body was fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on September 5. It bore at least 28 stab wounds and his head was wrapped in packing tape and a shirt. (PNA)