MANILA, Philippines — “It is with profound dismay that we regard the disturbing death of 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Thursday, a day after the boy was found, head wrapped in plastic and tape and with more than 30 stab wounds in the body, in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
De Guzman and his friend, former University of the Philippines student Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, went missing after going together to buy snacks late at night on August 17. It was the day after another teenager, senior high school student Kian Lloyd delos Santos, 17, was killed by Caloocan City police in what is widely believed to be an execution.
Arnaiz was found 10 days later in a morgue in Caloocan, dead from five gunshots the police claimed he incurred when he tried to shoot it out with them when they responded to calls for help from a taxi driver the young man supposedly held up.
Gapan is some 105 kilometers from De Guzman’s home in Cainta. And emerging details indicate he may have been murdered not long before his body was found.
Abella noted that the National Bureau of Investigation “has already been ordered to conduct a thorough investigation and case build over the killing of young Reynaldo” but nevertheless added, “we call on authorities to bring the perpetrators of this suspicious crime to justice.”
At the same time, he said the fact that the Philippine National Police is being investigated over the youths’ killings “indicates that the whole nation is in the process of rethinking the way we do … things and so that is part now of the entire restructuring … and actually falls within the ambit of the President’s campaign that there should be lesser crime.”
As to suggestions that a creation be committed to look into extrajudicial killings committed in the course of the government’s war on drugs, Abella said “Malacañang is open to all significant and workable solutions.”
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