MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to submit for resolution after it wrapped up its probe into the killings of former University of the Philippines student Carl Angelo Arnaiz and his companion Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.
Now facing double murder charges and other charges are Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita and taxi driver Bagcal.
The two cops have also been charged with torture and planting of evidence under Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) filed against them by the parents of Carl Angelo and Kulot represented by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
During the hearing's continuation on Friday, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, who heads the panel of prosecutors handling the case declared the case submitted for resolution after the two policemen presented tricycle driver Solomon Rosca and his wife Madelene Soliman as witnesses.
The respondents claim the couple will back their statement that Arnaiz died during a legitimate pre-dawn operation along C-3 Road in Caloocan City last August 18.
The policemen insisted Arnaiz died during a shootout when he resisted arrest and fired his handgun at chasing policemen following the taxi robbery committed against Bagcal.
In their sworn statement made on October 25, Rosca and Soliman recounted what they saw during the pre-dawn incident at around 3:30 a.m. on August 18 along C-3 Road in Caloocan City.
The witnesses said they were riding a tricycle along Torcilio St. heading towards C-3 when they saw two policemen chasing a man wearing a black jacket who was being told to stop.
“Nakita naming mag-asawa na bumunot ng baril yung lalaking naka jacket na itim sabay pinutukan yung dalawang lalaking humahabol sa kanya (We saw the man in the black jacket pull out a gun and shoot the two men chasing him),” their sworn statement read.
Because of what they saw, the witnesses retreated back to the alley out of fear.
When they returned to the area at around 4 a.m. that same day, the witnesses saw a dead person sprawled on the ground and police patrol car in the area.
However, the families of the two youths believe Arnaiz, 19, University of the Philippines student, and Kulot, 14, were victims of extrajudicial killings.
Arnaiz and De Guzman, who were neighbors in Cainta, 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 chasing cops following the robbery of Bagcal.
Arnaiz’s body was found at Ezekiel Funeral Homes weeks after he disappeared.
Bagcal insisted the two youths had tried to rob him but managed to stop them with the help of bystanders.
The taxi driver said he brought the two youths to the police station alive but policemen allegedly decided to take him out Arnaiz to be killed.
Bagcal said he never knew what policemen did to Kulot whom he last saw him inside a police patrol car.
De Guzman’s body was fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on September 5. It bore at least 28 stab wounds with his head wrapped in packing tape and a shirt.
The complaint filed against Perez and Arquilita last September 16 cited testimonies of witnesses -- including an eyewitness who saw Carl Angelo's killing -- and forensic results as evidence.
A forensic exam on Carl Angelo's cadaver revealed that he was already kneeling when he was shot several times in the chest, suggesting “intentional killing" on the part of the police.
It also suggested that he was tortured before he was killed as his wrists were swollen with handcuff marks and his eyes bruised.
The autopsy on Kulot, on the other hand, showed a similar manner of killing. It was found out that the 14-year-old companion of Carl Angelo bore about 28 stab wounds and was repeatedly stabbed even when he was already dead.
The complaint also cited as a basis the testimony of the eyewitness identified as alias "Daniel" who pointed to the probers the site where Carl Angelo was killed by police on C-3 Road in Caloocan. (PNA)