Carl Arnaiz was on his knees when cops shot him, say 2 witnesses
Two witnesses to the killing of 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz told a Senate inquiry on Monday that the boy was on his knees when he was shot and that the shooters were police officers, but differed on the time the shooting happened.
Appearing at the third hearing called by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, taxi driver Tomas Bagcal said he saw two police officers shoot Arnaiz at past 4 a.m. while another witness who gave his name as Joe Daniel said the shooting happened at 2 a.m. on Aug. 18.
Both witnesses, however, attested that Arnaiz did not die in a gunfight with police but was killed in cold blood.
‘They saw the same thing’
“The question now is that they have different times (of the incident) but they saw the same thing,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the committee chair, told reporters after the hearing.
Lacson said the Department of Justice (DOJ) should look into who between the two witnesses was telling the truth, and suggested authorities conduct a reenactment of the shooting based on their accounts.
He said the different times given by the two witnesses as well as the conflicting findings of the police and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on the entry and exit wounds of Arnaiz and the controversy about whether the body found in a creek in Nueva Ecija province was that of Arnaiz’s companion, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, could affect the case of government prosecutors.
“It’s almost sure that there will be a finding of probable cause [against the Caloocan police officers] and the filing of information, but the question is, will this pass the test of guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” Lacson said.
At the hearing, Bagcal, on questioning by Sen. Grace Poe, said two boys boarded his cab after midnight on Aug. 18 in Pasig City and asked to be taken to 5th Avenue in Caloocan.
He said the older boy declared a holdup when they reached their destination.
Bagcal said the boy pulled out a knife but he managed to parry the attack.
He said a tricycle driver in the area helped him subdue his assailant and they took the two boys to the police station on 9th Avenue.
They would be killed
Bagcal said a police officer at the station later told him they would kill the two boys who held him up but he insisted he just wanted to turn the two in.
He said a police officer who identified himself as Sir Lakay told him they would leave the precinct. He said he went to his cab to leave the premises.
It was then, he said, that Sir Lakay asked him whether he wanted the number of holdup men to be reduced.
He said they went back to the precinct and later he heard Sir Lakay give orders to bring the two boys to a patrol car.
But the boys and another police officer boarded his cab and they all headed toward Dagat-Dagatan accompanied by three police officers on motorbikes.
He said it was past 4 a.m. when they stopped at a gasoline station and the police officer made the two boys get off the cab. A patrol car was there, too, he said.
Bagcal said two police officers forced one of the boys to his knees. The boy raised his arms and pleaded for his life, he said, but was shot by the officers, whom he identified as PO1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita.
The two officers were at the hearing and were pointed out by Bagcal.
Along C3 Road
The other witness, Daniel, said he saw the shooting and it happened before 2 a.m. near a gas station along C3 Road.
He said he was looking for an eatery after attending the birthday party of a friend when he saw the shooting.
He said he did not see a taxi in the area.
But like Bagcal, he said he saw a younger boy inside the patrol car.
Daniel also identified Perez and Arquilita as the ones who shot the boy later identified as Arnaiz.
“Our process here is so dismaying and, more importantly, scary. The police should log in people who went to the precinct so there would be evidence that you were there so you won’t just disappear or be missing,” Poe said after questioning the two witnesses.
Poe also recommended protection for Daniel, whose face was covered throughout the hearing.
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