THE families of slain former UP student Carl Angelo Arnaiz and companion Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman vehemently objected to the bid of the taxi driver who accused the two of robbing him to become a state witness.
Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, counsel of the Arnaiz and De Guzman families, said Tomas Bagcal, the taxi driver, is not a credible witnesses and was not qualified for coverage under the witness protection program.
She cited the inconsistencies in the statements given by Bagcal, who turned himself in to the National Bureau of Investigation last week after being under the protective custody of non-government organization Rise Up for Life and for Rights.
“We’ve heard five versions of the story from him. In his first version, he said the robbers used a handgun and then it later became a knife. He also keeps on changing the actual time of the incident,” Acosta said, in an interview at the Justice Department.
“How can you place him under the WPP if he is not telling the truth, and he is inconsistent with his statements? Real witnesses… will testify and what [they] will say will not change at all,” she said.
When he surrendered to the NBI, Bagcal claimed that Arnaiz used a knife and was with Kulot during the robbery. He earlier said Arnaiz was alone and had used a gun.
Acosta said the complainants will stand firm on their allegation that Bagcal had conspired with the Caloocan policemen involved in the two killings.
“He is a co-conspirator in this case because he legitimized the defense of the policemen that the teenagers killed were holdup robbers. There is a conspiracy here,” Acosta said.
Acosta said only the eyewitness identified as alias “Daniel” who pointed to probers the site where Carl Angelo was killed by police on C-3 Road in Caloocan should be placed under WPP coverage.
The PAO chief disclosed that the witness, who saw how Carl was killed by the police, was already interrogated by the NBI for purposes of his WPP application.
In his affidavit, the witness said he saw police drag Carl Angelo out of a police patrol car and ordered him to kneel in a grassy area. Holding up his bound wrists, the man pleaded that he was surrendering—“susuko na po ako”—but he was shot dead by two policemen.
Daniel said he hid behind a lamppost when the police car pulled to a stop near the grassy area. He said there was also a young boy in the car, which was believed to be Kulot.
Acosta said Daniel’s statement was consistent with their forensic findings.
A forensic exam on Carl Angelo’s cadaver showed that he was kneeling when he was shot several times in the chest, suggesting “intentional killing” on the part of the police.
It also suggested that he was tortured before he was killed as his wrists were swollen and bore handcuff marks and his eyes were bruised.
The autopsy on Kulot found that the 14-year-old companion of Carl Angelo sustained about 28 stab wounds and was repeatedly stabbed even when he was dead already.
His body was found Sept. 5 floating in a creek in Nueva Ecija with his head wrapped in packing tape.
On Sept. 14, the parents of Carl Angelo and Kulot filed a complaint against Police Officers 1 Ricky Arquilita and Jeffrey Perez for double murder, torture and planting of evidence. The charge sheet included Bagcal and other unidentified policemen as co-respondents.