‘I brought Carl alive to police station’
Taxi driver Tomas Bagcal on Sunday confirmed that it was 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz who robbed him in Caloocan City last month, but belied the police story of a gunfight, calling Arnaiz’s killing “scripted.”
After more than a week in hiding, the 54-year-old cabbie finally surfaced, protected by Rise Up for Life and for Rights, a network of Church people and human rights advocates.
Speaking at a news briefing in Quezon City, Bagcal claimed he was able to catch the robber, whom he later identified as Arnaiz, with the help of bystanders who he said mauled the former University of the Philippines student.
Alive at police station
“I took him to the police station, alive,” Bagcal stressed, adding that he wanted Arnaiz to undergo inquest proceedings.
“In an hour, the person who robbed me was killed,” he added.
Bagcal said Arnaiz tried to shoot him in the cab, but the gun jammed.
He said Arnaiz whipped him in the head with the gun. He showed reporters an injury on his right arm, which he said he sustained in blocking Arnaiz’s blows.
Bagcal said Arnaiz got off the cab and fled. He said he gave chase and sought help from bystanders.
Bagcal stressed that the teenager who robbed him on the night of Aug. 18 and the slain boy identified as Arnaiz were one and the same person.
“When I grabbed him while he was being mauled, I was able to remove the hood of his jacket,” Bagcal said, explaining how he had identified Arnaiz.
At the police station on 9th Avenue, Bagcal said the police told him to follow them in his cab along C-3 Road, but he declined to give details.
“I saw someone walking ahead, then I heard several gunshots,” he said, adding that he took cover behind an electric post for fear of being hit.
“After that, I saw that the person who robbed me was already dead,” he said.
“But the manner by which they killed him seemed like a stage play, or was scripted,” he added.
The Caloocan police report told a completely different story: After the robbery, Arnaiz got off the cab and fled and Bagcal, while giving chase, “chanced upon” two policemen who were patrolling their beat and asked them for help.
The two officers, identified as PO1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita, traded shots with the robber, who was killed on the spot.
Bagcal also said he did not have any affidavit.
“That is not my real statement,” he said, referring to two conflicting statements that police claimed he had submitted to them.
The cabbie said when he took Arnaiz to the police station, the officers there only asked him for his name, age, and date of birth, as well as his cab’s original receipt and certificate of registration.
“The police implicated a 14-year-old in my first affidavit, but only one person robbed me,” he said, referring to Reynaldo de Guzman, who was last seen with Arnaiz in their neighborhood in Cainta, Rizal province, on Aug. 17.
De Guzman’s body was fished out of a creek in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija province, on Sept. 5. His head was wrapped in packing tape and his body bore at least 26 stab wounds.
Bagcal did not explain how De Guzman was implicated, but said he would disclose everything he knew at the “proper venue.”
He said Arnaiz was not handcuffed in the police station.
Autopsy done by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), however, showed that Arnaiz had handcuff marks on his wrists.
The PAO crime scene investigation also led to the conclusion that the killing was staged, with no bullet tracks or slugs found on the grassy lot.
Bagcal said there were threats to his life and his apartment was ransacked recently, prompting him to seek protection from Rise Up.
The group said it would continue to give “sanctuary” to Bagcal, as he was a potential witness to the killing of Arnaiz.
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