MANILA, Philippines – Two witnesses testified before the Senate that 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz was on his knees and handcuffed when he was shot dead by Caloocan police.
Taxi driver Tomas Bagcal and a 21-year-old witness named “Joe Daniel” appeared at the Senate public order hearing on Monday, October 2.
Bagcal said Police Officers 1 Ricky Arquilita and Jeffret Perez shot Arnaiz last August 18 after surrendering him and his companion 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman to authorities.
But when asked to identify the cops from those present in the hearing, Bagcal pointed to the wrong policemen or those involved in the killing of a different teen, 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos.
This prompted Senator Panfilo Lacson to tell Bagcal: “Umpisa pa lang yan. Ang gulo mo.” (It's just the beginning. You're confusing.)
Responding to questions of Senator Grace Poe, Bagcal claimed: “Pinagbabaril na po yung holdaper at nakaluhod po sya."
Poe then asked him if he heard Arnaiz’s last words but said he was situated far from the scene.
“Malayo po ako. Yung hitsura lang po nya. Nakaluhod na nakataas yung kamay," Bagcal said. (I was far. I just saw how he looked: he was on his knees while his hands were in the air.)
In his earlier affidavits, Bagcal first said he just surrendered Arnaiz and his companion to the police. He then changed it to say he heard gunshots while hiding behind an electric post and saw a teenager wearing a black shirt fall to the ground after getting shot.
Bagcal has claimed that Arnaiz and De Guzman robbed him at knifepoint in Caloocan City. De Guzman was later found dead in Nueva Ecija.
Witness Joe Daniel also said he saw Arnaiz on his knees while being shot by the two policemen.
He said he came from a friend's party and was near the scene where Arnaiz was shot. Daniel said he hid in one of the electric posts for fear he would be apprehended for violating curfew. It was then that he saw what happened to the Arnaiz.
“Nakita ko yung mukha nung lalaki. Nakakaawa yung mukha nya…” he said. (I saw the boy's face. I pity his face.)
He said he saw the police get something from inside the vehicle and put it near the slain teenager. Daniel, however, said he could not identify the item because he already ran away.
“Kumbaga po, sa tanang buhay ngayon lang ako nakakita, nakadikit kamay sa pulis mobile. Nakatakbo na po sya sa damuhan and then nakaluhod po sya noong binaril na may posas. Dalawang magkasunod tapos 1 putok ulit, umikot yung pulis sa patrol, may kinuhang puti,” he said. (In my entire life, it was only then when I saw someone whose hands are touching the police mobile. He ran to the grass and then he was on his knees when he was shot while handcuffed. There were 2 consecutive shots and then 1 more, one police when to the patrol, he got something white.)
He also pointed to Perez and Arquilita when asked who the killers were.
In September, the families of Arnaiz and De Guzman filed a double murder complaint against Bagcal, Arquilita, and Perez.
Bagcal was now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation but it was not clear if he was there as a witness or a suspect.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org