MANILA – With the discovery in Nueva Ecija of the body of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, last seen with former UP student Carl Angelo Arnaiz before he went missing on August 18, fears have arisen that the taxi driver who claimed Arnaiz held him up before being killed in a shootout with cops might be in danger.
Thus, Senator Grace Poe is asking the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice to ensure the safety of Tomas Marleo Bagcal and his family, “since he holds information as to what really happened on August 18, especially now that Carl’s companion was found dead in Nueva Ecija.”
In reply to a query from InterAksyon, Poe said, “I have already made a motion to invite the taxi driver to the next hearing. We have to determine why he executed two separate affidavits in which the first one lacked several important details. Also, we have to hear his testimony to corroborate what was indicated in his affidavits.”
In an interview by the Philippine Star on Monday, Bagcal said he was a driver of RNE Taxi, and was held up in Barangay 28, Caloocan City.
He said he picked up the passenger who held him up along Navotas, and who asked to be brought to Fifth Avenue. When they got there, Bagcal said, “malikot na ‘yung ulo niya (he kept looking here and there)”.
When the passenger supposedly saw that there were no people in the area, he held up Bagcal. The taxi driver told the Philippine Star that he was struck with a gun (“pinukpok niya ako ng baril”). Then he showed his right wrist, which had a wound on it.
Bagcal said the passenger had used a .38 gun, and had taken P450 from him. The passenger then supposedly alighted and ran away towards Navotas City, which was when Bagcal saw some Caloocan police on patrol. He told them that he had been held up and pointed to the passenger.
Bagcal said the police were able to chase the passenger, as they were on a motorcycle. This was about 150 meters away from where the taxi driver was held up.
As to what happened next, Bagcal said, “Pinutukan daw sila – Pinutukan sila, sir [They said they were shot at].”
“Eh syempre anong reaksyon ng mga pulis natin? Nakipag-barilan na rin. ‘Yun. Patay [So, how would police react? They’d shoot back],” he added.
According to Arnaiz’s parents, their son went out with de Guzman on August 17 to buy a midnight snack near their house in Brgy. San Andres, Cainta. They found his body at a morgue in Caloocan on August 28. Last Monday (Sept. 4), the Public Attorney’s Office said it was helping Arnaiz’s family file charges against Caloocan police after forensic findings showed the former UP student had been tortured and shot repeateadly
Meanwhile, de Guzman’s corpse was found floating on Tuesday morning in Kabayo Creek, Brgy. San Roque in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija. His entire head was covered with tape.
According to Gapan City police chief Supt. Peter Madria, an initial physical examination of de Guzman’s body indicated that he was only recently killed. There were 31 stab wounds all over the boy.