A 19-YEAR-OLD Uninversity of the Philippines student who went missing for 10 days and whose body was found in a morgue in Caloocan City, was tortured before he was killed, the Public Attorney’s Office said Monday.
PAO chief Persida Rueda Acosta said an autopsy conducted Sunday showed Carl Angelo Arnaiz, of Cainta, Rizal, had been beaten before he was shot dead.
Acosta said Arnaiz’s eyes were bruised and discolored, probably because of punches, and his wrists were wounded and swollen with handcuff marks. He also had five gunshot wounds—four in the chest and one in the right arm, she said.
Arnaiz’s body was found on Aug. 28, and the autopsy was performed Sept. 3 by Dr. Erwin Erfe of the PAO forensic lab.
“His body showed signs of torture and a beating, and there were signs that both his hands were handcuffed,” Acosta said in Filipino, in an interview on radio dzMM.
Earlier, Erfe said Arnaiz was dragged, beaten up, and handcuffed because his bruises were deep, his eyes were severely distended, and he had many shackle marks in his right hand.
Acosta said the case seemed similar to that of 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian delos Santos, who was tortured and murdered by policemen in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan on Aug. 16.
“The point here is why should this young person be beaten up and then shot dead like this? If he was a suspect, he should have been handcuffed, brought to the precinct, charged, and undergone inquest,” Acosta said in Filipino.
“This was a life. Why is the pattern like this? It seems similar to what happened to Kian. These incidents happened one after the other, and were just hours apart,” she said.
Carl’s parents, Carlito and Eva, said he went out with 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman on Aug. 17 to buy midnight snack near their house in Brgy. San Andres in Cainta.
Ten days later, Arnaiz was found dead along C-3 Road in Caloocan. His parents found his body at a morgue in Caloocan on Aug. 28.
Unlike in the Kian delos Santos case, there was no CCTV footage where Arnaiz lived.
Acosta said she was puzzled that his body was recovered in Caloocan City.
“Why did it happen again in Caloocan?” she said.
Carl’s 14-year-old companion, De Guzman, is still missing, Acosta said.
Arnaiz, whose mother works in Dubai, was the valedictorian at Tibagan Elementary School in Makati City. He finished his secondary education at the Makati Science High School before studying in UP. He later dropped out and underwent treatment for depression. Like Kian, he also sold goods in a sari-sari store.
An Aug. 30 police spot report said Arnaiz flagged down a taxi in Navotas City at 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 18, then hit the driver, Tomas Bagcal, at the back of the head with a .38-cal revolver and took his wallet when the cab reached C-3 Road in Caloocan. Arnaiz was killed in a shootout with responding policemen, and authorities found two packs of marijuana in his pocket, and three packs of shabu in his backpack. Carl’s parents, however, said he was carrying a sling bag when he left the house to buy food.
They said his only vice was smoking, and he would never commit such a crime.
Acosta said the forensic evidence contradicted the police account.
She also noted that the driver’s sworn statement did not include the operator’s name or the cab’s plate number.
Acosta said they are still gathering more evidence before filing a case against the policemen involved in the operation. The PAO already has a witness to Arnaiz’s killing, she added.
She said she would coordinate with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and the National Bureau of Investigation to extend assistance to the witness and Arnaiz’s family and have them under the Justice department’s Witness Protection Program.
In the wake of the PAO revelations, Northern Police District Director Chief Supt. Armando Empiso confirmed the relief of PO1s Ricky Arquilita and Jeffrey Perez. They were both transferred in the holding center of Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig pending investigation.
The Justice department has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case, Aguirre said Monday.
The opposition Liberal Party expressed outrage over the killing of the former UP student.
In a statement issued Monday, the LP said there is no other time than now for President Rodrigo Duterre and PNP chief Rogelio Dela Rosa to manifest determination and firmness when law enforcers invert their very role to safeguard the people by becoming killers and lawbreakers themselves.
“Too many have already become victims,” said the LP.
“Again, as in the case of Kian delos Santos, Caloocan policemen were involved. They claimed that the young man tried to rob a cab driver, whose name and details are missing from the police report,” the LP said.
The LP said the PNP’s continuing denial of its involvement in the tide of extrajudicial killings now rings more hollow amid the emerging pattern of how the victims are killed.
“The PNP should delve into these cases with dispatch and transparency, and bring to the bar of justice the perpetrators,” the party said.
Senators condemned the killing.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara denounced the “execution type of killing” and insisted it looks like a repeat of the Kian killing,” which was also committed by the police.
Senator JV Ejercito said the killing of two teenagers, one after the other, was a cause for concern.
In his Twitter post, he commended PAO for filing murder charges against the police involved, but said this should be the last killing involving the youth.