TAXI driver Tomas Bagcal on Monday, September 2, told a Senate inquiry that 14-year-old Reynaldo De Guzman was with 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz when the latter attempted to rob him on August 18.
His statement during the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs was contrary to his earlier claim that Arnaiz was alone when he committed the alleged robbery in Caloocan City.
Bagcal narrated that past midnight of August 18, the two teenagers, which was later identified as Arnaiz and De Guzman, had hailed him in Pasig City and asked to bring them to 5th Avenue in Caloocan City.
He said that before reaching their destination, Arnaiz declared a hold-up and threatened to kill him with a knife.
Bagcal said had told him that Arnaiz as the only suspect.
He said when he had the chance, he sought the help of the tricycle driver who noticed the commotion inside his vehicle and immediately brought the two minors alive to the police station in 9th Avenue in Caloocan.
When they reached the police station, one of the police officers instructed his two companions to just eliminate Arnaiz instead of putting him in jail.
"One of the policemen signaled to slit the neck," the driver said in Filipino, adding that the police did not ask for his name, home address, the taxi company he was working for.
"I thought, they could have me killed along with the suspect," he added.
Bagcal said he, along with a policeman who he identified as "Sir Lakay" headed to C-3 road where he witnessed the killing of Arnaiz.
He said that after Arnaiz stepped out of the police vehicle, he kneeled, raised his hands as he tried to plead the cops before he was shot dead while De Guzman stayed inside the vehicle.
He said he was at least 20 meters away from where Arnaiz was executed.
Bagcal identified the cops who shot dead Arnaiz as Police Officer 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita.
He said he only knew the names of Arnaiz and De Guzman when he saw their faces in the news.
Based on his sworn affidavit, which he executed in the police station, Bagcal reported that he was robbed along C-3 road by men who posed as passengers and asked him to bring them to Caloocan City from Navotas.
He said the police officers chased one of the suspects and found him along C-3 road. The killed the suspect during a shootout, he added.
However, Bagcal said the sworn affidavit which was earlier released to the media was not his real statement. He said he only signed the statement prepared by the police for fear that he will follow the fate of Arnaiz.
Meanwhile, another witness identified as "Joe Daniel" told the Senate panel that he saw how Arnaiz was killed by the police officers.
He said there was no shootout as earlier claimed by the police as Arnaiz was kneeling down when he was shot dead.
Arnaiz body was found a funeral parlor 10 days later, while the body of De Guzman was found floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on September 5. The body had at least 30 stab wounds.
De Guzman was positively identified by his parents but a police autopsy report said the DNA from the cadaver did not match those of the parents.
Despite this, the parents buried the boy's remains and filed murder and torture complaints against the Caloocan police officers. (SunStar Philippines)