THE slain teen suspected of robbery in Caloocan City tested positive for gunpowder residue, a forensic expert of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Tuesday.
Testifying before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Supt. Liagay Sim of the PNP Crime Laboratory also said that there were abrasions in the body of Carl Arnaiz, 19, which suggested that he was dragged.
Arnaiz’s case surfaced in the ongoing investigation on the death of another teen, Kian de los Santos, amid questions by Sen. Grace Poe who drew similarities between the two deaths, one of which was that both were killed by Caloocan police.
Police claimed that both victims fought back, prompting them to fire back and consequently kill the two. De los Santos was killed on August 16, Arnaiz on August 18.
While the PNP Crime Laboratory found gunpowder residue on Arnaiz, Erwin Erfe, forensic expert of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), told Poe that he did not perform a similar test on Arnaiz.
Erfe said, however, that there were some indications that Arnaiz was mugged before he was killed.
“It looks like victim was handcuffed; had marks of handcuff. It appears the victim was mugged,” Erfe said.
He added that there was no indication that Arnaiz was shot at close range based on the five gunshot wounds he sustained.
Arnaiz was shot dead on August 18 when a taxi driver, who claimed he was robbed, sought the help of police.
In a police report read by Metro Manila police director Oscar Albayalde, Arnaiz was said to have hailed a taxi in Navotas City and asked the driver, Tomas Bagcal, to take him to 5th Avenue in Caloocan City.
Arnaiz drew his gun and declared a heist while they were on Road 3, Village 28, Caloocan City, Albayalde said.
He then supposedly took the wallet of the driver and hit the latter with his gun before alighting the vehicle.
Albayalde said Bagcal immediately sought the help of uniformed men at Police Community Precinct 2.
Police Officer 1 (PO1) Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita accompanied Bagcal to the area where the robbery happened and they spotted Arnaiz.
The police officers, Albayalde said, identified themselves as law enforces and claimed the teenager drew his gun and fired at them, prompting them to fire back.
Arnaiz’s body was brought to Ezekiel Funeral Services for autopsy, attended by the Northern Police District (NPD) Crime Lboratory. Relatives claimed the remains 10 days later.
Arnaiz was laid to rest on Tuesday afternoon after a funeral procession attended by hundreds of his relatives and supporters.
From his home in Cainta, Rizal province, Carl’s remains were brought to Mater Dolorosa Church in Barangay East Rembo, Makati City for a funeral Mass at 2 p.m. before he was brought to his final resting place at San Roque Catholic Cemetery in Pateros.
No prominent personalities or politicians attended Carl’s burial, except for a handful of protesters from the militant youth group Anakbayan, who staged a rally inside the cemetery and called on the government to stop drug-related killings.
Carl’s grandmother Norma called for justice, saying her grandson would not do such crime.
“I don’t believe the police who said my grandson fired a gun. A toy gun, yes, but the real thing, no,” she said.
She also thanked the Senate for conducting an investigation on the death of her grandson, a former University of the Philippines student.
Poe said the killing of Arnaiz was an “overkill,” and responding authorities applied excessive and lethal police force on the victim.
“We should remind our police, because if they will not use their training there will be overkill,” Poe said during the hearing.
Poe, vice-chairman of the investigating committee, urged PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa to review police operations protocols and procedures, and order his men to apply restraint in some cases.
She also moved that the parents of Arnaiz be invited to the next hearing. The parents have been accepted into the Witness Protection Program, the Justice department said.
The companion of Arnaiz, identified as 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, remains missing.
Malacañang assured the public that there would be no whitewash or cover-up in the investigation into Arnaiz’s death.
“We assure the public that there will be no whitewash, and there will be a thorough and impartial investigation, and those who will be found responsible will be made accountable before our laws,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters.
With NEIL A. ALCOBER AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE