MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said slain 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz tested positive for gunpowder.
The PNP Crime Laboratory revealed this on Tuesday, September 5, during a Senate public order hearing on the death of another teenager, Kian delos Santos.
Senator Grace Poe asked Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police chief, on the results of the tests.
“'Yun bang PAO, SOCO, may results na kung may residue ng nitrates (Do PAO, SOCO have results if [he was found] with nitrates residue)?” Poe asked.
Albayalde initially said they have no results yet but quickly corrected himself. “Well, according to the crime lab, they have results,” he said.
“Positive,” said Senior Superintendent Ligaya Sim of the PNP Crime Laboratory, who was also at the hearing.
Asked if they conducted the same, Erwin Erfe, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensic head, said they did not do such test.
A lawmaker, however, pointed out that the results of the paraffin test was “still inconclusive.”
“It is jurisprudential that a paraffin test could establish the presence or absence of nitrates on the hand. However, it cannot establish that the source of the nitrate was the discharge of firearms,” Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a statement.
He added: “Nitrates are also found in substances other than gunpowder. A person who tests positive may have handled one or more substances with the same positive reaction for nitrates such as explosives, fireworks, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and leguminous plants. Hence, the presence of nitrates should only be taken as an indication of a possibility that a person has fired a gun.”
Zarate, along with his allies in the Makabayan bloc, filed a resolution calling for a probe into Arnaiz’s death.
5 gunshot wounds
Responding to questions, Erfe said he saw 5 gunshot wounds in Arnaiz’s body – 3 in the middle of the chest, one on the left side of the chest, and one on the back of the upper arm.
Erfe also said Arnaiz had “marks of handcuffs” and “swollen eyes.”
“There is an extensive abrasion. He may have been dragged,” Erfe said.
Poe asked Erfe if, in his opinion, the injuries sustained by Arnaiz pointed to an overkill.
The PAO forensic head replied: "It looks like victim was handcuffed; had marks of handcuff. [It appears the] victim was mugged."
Asked if Arnaiz was shot at close range or from a distance, Erfe said: “There’s no indication of close range or near contact.”
The PNP said Caloocan cops searched for Arnaiz upon the complaint of a taxi driver, who alleged that Arnaiz robbed him. When they found Arnaiz, the police claimed the teenager fought back, leading to his death.
Police allegedly found 3 packets of suspected shabu in Arnaiz’s backpack, and marijuana leaves in his pocket.
Arnaiz was killed on August 18. His parents, who had reported him missing, only saw their child 10 days later in a morgue in Caloocan City. – with a report from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com