DOJ charges cops for killing teens Arnaiz, De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Caloocan City policemen who allegedly murdered 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, whose deaths fueled outrage against President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. 

In a 35-page resolution released to reporters on Friday, January 19, the DOJ indicted Police Officer (PO) 1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita with two counts of murder after finding probable cause for the slay of the two teenagers.

Perez and Arquilita were also charged with two counts of torture and 3 counts of planting of evidence (marijuana, shabu, .38 caliber pistol) under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and Section 38 of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

"They planned and committed all the crimes with a common desire to eliminate their subjects. They even portrayed that the death of Carl Angelo was the product of a shoot-out in a legitimate police/hot pursuit in order to cover up the intended killings of Carl Angelo and Reynaldo 'Kulot,'" the DOJ said.

While made public only on Friday, the resolution was dated December 18, 2017.

Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed murder raps against against taxi driver Tomas Bagcal, who was allegedly "held up" by Arnaiz before the boy went missing.

"We consider all his acts and alleged participation in the crime committed to be involuntary due to uncontrollable fear for his life and that of his family. There is no overt act on his part that would implicate him in the crime against Carl Angelo and Reynaldo," the resolution said.

Arnaiz and De Guzman both went missing in August 2017. They were residents of Barangay San Andres in Cainta, Rizal.

Arnaiz's body was later found in a Caloocan City morgue days later, with a backpack containing shabu and marijuana in his pockets. The Caloocan City police said that they "tried to apprehend" the boy for robbing Bagcal. (READ: Carl Arnaiz: Smart, skilled, every parent's dream)

In November, De Guzman was found dead with 30 stab wounds in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. (READ: Sleepless mother looks for son who was a friend of Carl Arnaiz)

The Public Attorney's Office filed the double murder case against Caloocan policemen in September 2017.

The deaths of Arnaiz and De Guzman, as well as the killing of another teenager, 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, have triggered more intense criticism of Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign.  (READ: The Impunity Series– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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