Philippine judiciary

Court convicts ex-cop for teenager killings linked to Duterte drug war

Ryan Macasero

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Court convicts ex-cop for teenager killings linked to Duterte drug war

CONVICTED COP. Jefrey Perez faces Senate in 2017 hearing on the death of 3 teenage boys.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Dismissed cop Jefrey Perez is found guilty of murdering Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Kulot de Guzman, 14, as police implemented Rodrigo Duterte's drug war in 2017

MANILA, Philippines – A Navotas court convicted dismissed cop Jefrey Perez for the murders of Rizal teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman in 2017, in a decision released to the public on Monday, March 13.

This is the second conviction among the high-profile murder cases linked to the drug war of then-president Rodrigo Duterte, which is now under scrutiny by the International Criminal Court. A Caloocan court previously convicted three cops for the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in 2018.

“WHEREFORE, based from the foregoing, for Criminal Case No. N18-342-CR, as regard to the case of victim Carl Angelo Arnaiz, this Court finds accused Jefrey Sumbo Perez, ‘GUILTY’ beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of Murder punishable under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. He is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole,” ruled the Navotas City Regional Trial Court Branch 287.

The court also convicted him on another count of murder for the killing of De Guzman. 

Perez was ordered to pay the families of the victims for the deaths of their sons, who were minors at the time of the killings. Arnaiz was 19 while de Guzman was 14, when they were killed.

To Arnaiz’s family, Perez was ordered to pay the amount of P300,000 for civil, moral, and exemplary damages. 

Meanwhile, he was ordered to pay P390,000 for actual, civil, moral and exemplary damages to De Guzman’s family. 

Perez was previously convicted by a Caloocan court of torture and planting of evidence, in relation to Arnaiz’s case in November 2022.  

Arnaiz was killed in what the Philippine National Police (PNP) initially claimed as a shootout, was  supposedly started by the teenager. Police claimed then that cops were trying to arrest him for robbing a cab driver on August 18, and that the teen fired first.

An autopsy by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) showed a different picture of what happened. PAO presented evidence showing Arnaiz was handcuffed, beaten up, and then killed. The taxi driver who allegedly got robbed by Arnaiz also later said that he was forced to provide a false affidavit against Arnaiz.

The damages owed by Perez to the families of the victims are in addition to the P1 million each for moral damages, and another P1 million each for exemplary damages, the Caloocan court had previously ordered the ex-cop to pay.

A PNP Internal Affairs Service investigation into the controversial case corroborated the PAO findings, that the two Caloocan cops “intentionally killed” Arnaiz.

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After 5 years, court convicts cop for torture of teens Carl Arnaiz, De Guzman

After 5 years, court convicts cop for torture of teens Carl Arnaiz, De Guzman

De Guzman, who has last seen with Arnaiz in Cainta, Rizal, was found dead over 100 kilometers away, in a creek in Barangay San Roque, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, weeks after Arnaiz’s death.

De Guzman had 30 stab wounds when his body was examined. – Rappler.com

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at ryan.macasero@rappler.com