If it’s not ‘Kulot,’ who’s that in the coffin?
The Philippine National Police on Monday stunned the parents of Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman by announcing that the body in the coffin at the mortuary in their village was not that of their son.
“Based on the results obtained the source of the DNA profile obtained from the male [corpse, it] cannot be the biological offspring of Eduardo Gabriel and Nina de Guzman,” PNP Deputy Director General for Operations Fernando Mendez told reporters.
Insp. Lorna Santos, chief of the PNP DNA Laboratory, said the result of the DNA test was “99.9 percent accurate.”
Mendez said the PNP tried to reach the De Guzmans but “apparently the numbers that they gave [had been] changed or could not be contacted.”
For the PNP, he said, De Guzman is now technically a “missing” person.
He said the PNP would continue to investigate the boy’s case.
De Guzman, 14, was the last known companion of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was killed by police in an supposed exchange of gunfire after a taxi robbery in Caloocan City last month.
The body supposedly of De Guzman was found with 26 stab wounds in a creek in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija province, last week.
Gabriel, who traveled to Gapan to bring home the body of his son, said on Monday he could not believe the PNP announcement about the DNA test.
He demanded another test.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said the positive identification of the body by the parents outweighed the PNP findings.
Acosta said somebody was trying to mar the investigation of the boy’s killing.
‘Whose body is it?’
Mendez said the PNP had no idea whose body was found in the Gapan creek.
Quoting the Nueva Ecija police, he said there was no missing person on record in the province.
Contrary to that claim, three people were reported missing in Nueva Ecija before the boy’s body was found: Jayson Flores, 25, of Santa Rita, Cabiao town; Joyland Lucero, 38, of San Antonio town, and Shibani Paul Garcia, a Grade 11 student from Cabanatuan City.
Flores has been missing since Sept. 5. Both Lucero and Garcia have been missing since Sept. 4.
Santos said the PNP crime laboratory in Nueva Ecija requested the DNA test.
She said the boy’s parents gave a sample through a cheek swab.
The police also took a sample from the corpse, she said.
Santos described the sample taken from the body as “good.”
She said the PNP leadership directed the crime laboratory to expedite the test. She added that the PNP had state-of-the-art technology in DNA testing.
Santos said she was aware that the public was skeptical about the result of the DNA test, but that she stood by its integrity.
To dispel any doubts, she suggested tests by other parties.
Supt. Peter Madria, Gapan police chief, confirmed that it was he who requested the DNA test.
“Yes, I made the request because that was the standard operating procedure. But if I am not entitled to the results of the test, that would be OK,” Madria said.
He said he requested the test on Sept. 6, when the boy’s parents claimed the body.
Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, Central Luzon Police director, said the crime laboratory took samples from the body to help in the investigation and because the surnames of the parents were different from the boy’s.
The boy took the surname of his grandmother.
The forensic expert of the PAO said on Monday his office would conduct physical profiling on the body that was fished out of a creek in Nueva Ecija.
Dr. Erwin Erfe, PAO forensic laboratory director, said he stood by the parents’ claim that the boy was their son.
In a phone interview with Inquirer, Erfe said the DNA test result may not be “conclusive,” as several factors could affect tests.
“Factors include sample collection from the subject and the transport, as well as the processing in the laboratory itself,” he said. “You also have to consider the interpretation [of their experts].”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.