FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD Reynaldo de Guzman, the companion of slain Carl Angelo Arnaiz, was found floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija Tuesday morning, 19 days after he went missing.
De Guzman’s body bore 30 stab wounds and his face was wrapped in masking tape when it was found at the Kinamatayan Kabayo Creek in Brgy. San Roque at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
De Guzman’s parents identified the body at the funeral parlor in Gapan town.
“They killed the boy mercilessly,” said Reynaldo’s mother, Lina Gabriel, in Filipino, tears trickling down her face as she lifted the cloth cover of his body. “They riddled him with stab wounds.”
The boy’s father, Ed, said they identified the body through a mark on his leg and a wart on his knee.
They learned about their son’s whereabouts through a tip from a friend on social media.
Lina said Reynaldo left their home in Cainta, Rizal, to have a midnight snack with Arnaiz on Aug. 17.
Supt. Peter Madria, chief of police of Gapan, said initial investigation showed De Guzman’s body bore no bullet wounds, and had not yet decomposed, suggesting he was killed just hours before his remains were discovered.
No personal belongings were found on his body, but he was wearing orange shorts with the word “Batman” when he was found.
Madria said residents heard a sound of a vehicle stop in the same area where the body of De Guzman was found and heard something being dumped in the water and assumed it was garbage.
Madria said the area where the body of De Guzaman was found is near a remote interior road, perpendicular to the highway of Brgy. San Roque.
De Guzman, a Grade 5 pupil at Maybunga Elementary School in Pasig City, was eating in their house in Brgy. San Andres, Cainta, Rizal at 10 p.m. on Aug. 17, when he suddenly left, Lina Gabriel said.
She said her son’s friends told her that they saw De Guzman go out with Arnaiz about 1 a.m. to buy food at a noodle house.
About two hours later, Arnaiz was killed, allegedly in a shootout with Caloocan police, after he supposedly robbed 54-year-old taxi driver Tomas Bagcal at gunpoint.
His parents found Arnaiz’s body 10 days later in a morgue in Caloocan City. The Public Attorney’s Office said it showed signs of torture.
The killing of Arnaiz and De Guzman follows the death of another teenager, Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos, during a police operation in Caloocan City.
Police claimed Delos Santos fired at them first, prompting them to shoot back and kill him, but this account was contradicted by eyewitness, CCTV footage that showed the policemen dragging the boy to an alley where his body was found, and the absence of gunpowder residue on the teenager’s hands.
President Rodrigo Duterte assured the parents of Carl Angelo Arnaiz of a fair investigation into their son’s death.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the President made the commitment during a meeting with the victim’s parents Carlito and Eva Arnaiz at the Palace Wednesday.
Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, who is providing legal assistance to the Arnaiz family, also joined the meeting.
Earlier, Carl Angelo’s parents were accepted for provisional coverage of the witness protection program and are now being provided government security.
On Monday, Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel probe into Carl Angelo’s killing last Aug.18.
Aguirre’s order came after the probe of PAO suggested that the death of Arnaiz could be another case of murder by police officers just like that of Kian Loyd delos Santos.
The autopsy report on Carl Angelo showed he was beaten and handcuffed before he was shot dead, most likely while he was lying down, facing up.
The two policemen involved in the incident–Police Officer 1 Ricky Arquilita and Jeffrey Perez–have been relieved from their posts pending the investigation into the incident.
The police in the Delos Santos shooting have been accused of torture and murder.
Also on Wednesday, Senator Francis Pangilinan said PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa’s tears were not the way to show concern to the public, and urged the police to get the killers of Reynaldo de Guzman.
“Do your job, serve and protect. Serve and protect. Look for the criminals and hold them responsible,” Pangilinan also told Dela Rosa who on Tuesday shed tears when he denied it was state policy to kill drug suspects.
De Guzman, the senator said, belonged to the increasing number of victims who are being killed. He said more than 30 young people are now “collateral damage” in the government’s war on drugs.
“They are human, they are kids and that’s a crime,” he said.
Senator Grace Poe expressed alarm that a life could be seen as so inconsequential that a 14-year-old would be stabbed 30 times.