Aguirre orders NBI to find cab driver in Carl Arnaiz case
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday, September 7, signed a department order authorizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the alleged robbery of a cab driver on August 18 that eventually led to the killing of Carl Arnaiz at the hands of Caloocan City police.
Aguirre tasked the NBI to locate cab driver Tomas Bagcal and piece together facts surrounding the death of 19-year-old Arnaiz.
Bagcal had executed two affidavits just days apart, with glaring differences in his knowledge of the appearance of his alleged robber. This was questioned by the Senate committee conducting a legislative inquiry into the case.
Aguirre said the cab driver could be a possible state witness, but at this point, he is not yet absolved of possible liability.
Aguirre's latest order follows the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, September 6, for the NBI to take over investigation of the Arnaiz case.
The NBI has also been authorized to investigate the death of Arnaiz's companion Reynaldo de Guzman, who was found dead with 30 stab wounds in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on Tuesday, September 5.
Arnaiz was last seen with De Guzman leaving their homes in Cainta, Rizal on August 17. The robbery allegedly happened along C3 Road in Navotas.
According to the police report, Bagcal called the cops after he was held at gunpoint supposedly by Arnaiz. The Philippine National Police (PNP) said that based on a paraffin test, Arnaiz fired once before he was killed.
But an autopsy by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) shows Arnaiz was handcuffed, beaten up, and dragged before being shot 5 times, 3 to the chest. PAO forensic chief Dr Erwin Erfe said this refutes the police's claim that Arnaiz fought back.
Police also allegedly found sachets of shabu on Arnaiz. He, however, was wearing clothes different from the clothes he was last seen in by neighbors and relatives in Cainta.
Arnaiz's family has since been placed under the Witness Protection Program. Duterte met with the boy's parents on Wednesday at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse, at the request of Aguirre. The President said the NBI investigation will be impartial.
The PNP also said on Thursday that it welcomes the decision to have the NBI take over the probe. Police will only help in gathering evidence, according to PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos.