‘Kulot’ laid to rest, but questions remain unburied
(Updated, this story was first published at 10:23 a.m.) Threats to the security of the family of Reynaldo “Kulot” De Guzman marred the boy’s funeral as police authorities continued to question the identity of the body buried in Pasig City on Wednesday.
De Guzman, whose identity was put into question after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released its test claiming the body’s DNA sample did not match those of his parents, was buried in a hasty funeral ceremony in Pasig City because of threats to his family’s security.
“Ang gusto namin secure talaga, mahirap na, baka masingitan kami (We want to make sure that they are secure and not leave anything to chance),” Witness Protection Program’s Intelligence Service Operations Group (Isog) Chief Ernie Talabucon told the media after De Guzman’s burial.
“Kasi kahapon nagkatensyon, diba, sa CIDG? (There was tension with the CIDG yesterday, right?)”
Talabucon, however, did not say whether the threat to the security of the boy’s family came from the CIDG.
The contention on the body’s identity led to the CIDG’s attempt to take the body from its wake on Tuesday. The parents refused to give the body, which then led to a commotion.
De Guzman’s parents, Eduardo Gabriel and Lina De Guzman, however, insisted it was their son because of his wart on his left knee and the scar on his neck.
“Anak namin ‘yan, dugo’t laman namin ‘yan. Kami gumawa niyan, sa amin ‘yan (That’s our son, our own flesh and blood. We made him, he’s ours),” Lina told the press.
READ: No one will get ‘Kulot’ from us—parents
All throughout the rites, De Guzman’s parents wore bulletproof vests and were escorted by Isog forces and members of the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
The whole funeral ceremony lasted for about an hour and a half: the convoy began at De Guzman’s neighborhood in Anak Pawis 2, Cainta, Rizal at around 8:30 a.m. and ended at around 10 a.m. at the Pasig City Public Cemetery where he was buried in an apartment-style crypt.
A brief eulogy was held at the San Antonio Abad Parish in Maybunga, Pasig City.
The family no longer observed burial customs at the cemetery, such as the placing of flowers at the crypt and the “tawid (cross),” where children are crossed over the casket.
The kin immediately left in a van and proceeded to the Department of Justice to be formally admitted to the WPP.
In his homily, parish priest Fr. Jun Sanchez called for justice for the slain teen as he urged the country’s leaders to stop politicking and instead focus on the pressing issues the country face.
“Sa ating mga lider, sana po iwasan na ang pamumulitika, tapos na ang kampanya, tapos na ang eleksyon, marami po tayong problemang dapat harapin,” Sanchez said.
(To our leaders, please refrain from politicking; the campaign and election were over. We have more problems to face.)
The Church is also open to all those who need help, the priest said.
De Guzman was found Sept. 5 floating in Kinamatayang Kabayo creek in the village of San Roque in Gapan City. His body was riddled with 30 stab wounds and his head was wrapped in a plastic and packing tape.
A Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) autopsy report indicated De Guzman was killed within 24 hours before he was dumped into the creek.
He was last seen on Aug. 18 with another slain teen, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, when they went out for midnight snacks.
Arnaiz was found dead 10 days later in a morgue in Caloocan City, killed in an alleged shootout with the police after mugging taxi driver Tomas Bagcal.
The boys’ deaths, including that of another teen, Kian delos Santos, have sparked public outrage and have incited more criticisms into Duterte’s violent crackdown against drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of suspected drug personalities. /idl
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