MANILA, Philippines — The 54-year-old taxi driver who claimed that he was robbed by Carl Angelo Arnaiz before the latter was killed by the Caloocan police was among those charged in the killing of the 19-year-old teener and his companion, 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda Acosta said the families of the slain youngsters charged Tomas Bagcal as co-conspirator of police officers Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita, who were accused of double murder, torture, and planting of evidence.
Acosta said Bagcal had conflicting statements about Arnaiz’s killing that allegedly made his credibility questionable.
The PAO chief noted that in his first affidavit, Bagcal said Arnaiz rode his cab on a highway in Navotas City past 3 a.m. of August 18. In his second affidavit, he said the teenager rode the vehicle at 3:20 a.m. But according to a police blotter, Arnaiz hailed the cab at 2 a.m. but at 1:28 a.m., the teener was already dead.
“Naholdap siya diumano sa isang statement 3:00, sa isa 3:20, sa blotter 2:00, eh as of 1:28 patay na si Carl [In one statement, he said he was robbed at 3:00, in another at 3:20, in the blotter it was 2:00 but as of 1:28, Carl was already dead] said Acosta.
“Sinong Carl nagholdap sa kanya [Who was the Carl that robbed him]?” the PAO chief added.
Acosta said Bagcal should show up and clear his name so he could still have the chance to become state witness. “Linisin niya pangalan dito, lumitaw siya dito. Baka gawin pa siyang state witness.”
During a press conference on Sept. 10, Bagcal said he had turned over a “live” Arnaiz to police at Caloocan’s 9th Avenue Precinct but was told to proceed to C-3 Road, where the teenager was shot dead.
He said the police’s killing of Arnaiz “seemed staged or scripted.” But authorities said Arnaiz died during a shootout with arresting officers.
Meanwhile, Reynaldo’s brother had taken back his statement that the body retrieved last Sept. 5 from a creek in Brgy. San Roque, Gapan, Nueva Ecija did not belong to his brother.
Edgardo claimed that he was just misquoted in earlier reports saying the face of the cadaver was not similar to that of Reynaldo and unlike his brother, was not circumcised.
“Mariin ko pong tinatanggi na ako ang nagbigay ng komento kahit kanino man ukol sa bangkay. ‘Di ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makita ang bangkay ni Kulot,” said Edgardo.
[I strongly deny that I was the one who gave the comment to anyone about the cadaver. I did not have the chance to see Kulot’s remains.]
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