PAO chief: Kulot repeatedly stabbed even when already dead
“You are animals and demons, not human beings!” cried Eduardo De Guzman as he wished the same pain for those behind the brutal killing of his son Reynaldo, 14.
“Whoever did this, I think you are listening. I hope this also happens to you,” the anguished father said as the teenager’s remains were brought back home on Thursday to Cainta, Rizal, after being found in a creek in Nueva Ecija province.
Public Attorneys Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta stood by Reynaldo’s grieving parents as his casket was brought into a mortuary near the family residence in Barangay San Andres.
“There is a coverup here,” Acosta told reporters, noting that the body bore torture marks even in the eyes, aside from multiple stab wounds.
Citing autopsy results, Acosta said the boy nicknamed “Kulot” was apparently killed after two to three stabs in the body, but “what is sad here is that he was still stabbed even when he was already dead.”
“He was such a small kid and yet (the killers) still had to wrap his head with tape,” the PAO chief said.
Family members, friends and neighbors described Kulot as everyone’s favorite “errand boy,” who at a young age worked odd jobs to earn money.
The fourth in a brood of five sons contributed to the income of a family that rents a cramped house in Barangay San Andres. Practically bereft of comforts except for three electric fans, the structure has just enough space for its occupants to sleep on the floor.
On the night of Aug. 17, Kulot defied his father’s order not to stay out late and met with a neighbor, 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz. Witnesses said the two teenagers left their houses to grab a midnight snack.
It was the last time the two would be seen alive. The police said Arnaiz, a former University of the Philippines student, tried to rob a taxi driver he hailed in Navotas City and was killed in a shootout with policemen in the wee hours of Aug. 18 in Caloocan City. His body would remain in the morgue for 10 days before it was identified by his family.
Kulot De Guzman was found dead on Wednesday in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
The wake would be at the same chapel that held Arnaiz’s remains before his Sept. 5 burial.
Acosta said PAO had tapped a doctor to look after Kulot’s mother Lina, a tuberculosis patient now suffering from post-traumatic depression.
Lina was quoted in a news report that a certain “MJ” had told her that Kulot went with Arnaiz that night with plans to carry out a robbery and that the two teenagers armed themselves with a hammer and a knife.
The Inquirer on Thursday found MJ, a 12-year-old also from the neighborhood, who denied saying such things to his friend’s mother.
According to Kulot’s youngest sibling, Eduardo Jr., a day before the body was found, the family had a premonition that something bad had happened: their father had a dream of the missing boy “being stabbed.”
“I heard that my brother was being called a robber. That’s not true. Kulot could not do that,” Eduardo Jr. added “We had fights at times, yes, but I love my brother.”
When done with classes at Maybunga Elementary School in neighboring Pasig City, Kulot, a Grade 5 pupil, would sometimes linger at a nearby construction site to do various chores for a fee.
Eduardo Jr. also recalled that Kulot was often generous enough to add P30 to P40 to his school allowance.
Joven Tare, a fish vendor, recalled how Kulot approached him years ago asking to be hired as his market stall helper. “He really loved his family and he wanted to help them. I treated him like my own son, giving him P30 to P50 every day.”
Tare’s wife Saturnina said Kulot frequently missed class because he had no money.
“I broke down in tears when I saw his body (in news photos),” said Lourdes Nitalo, one of the residents who had bought fish from the boy.
“Whoever did this to him was a heartless monster,” added another friend, Jonard Malinao, 17.
The family plans to bury Reynaldo on Tuesday next week.
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