Senator Grace Poe today said the killing of teenager Carl Angelo Arnaiz was an “overkill,” as she reminded the police to be more cautious in their operations.
Taking note of the findings of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Northern Police District (NPD) forensics team that the 19-year-old “Iskolar ng Bayan” may have been dragged, beaten, handcuffed until he was killed by cops, Poe said responding authorities applied excessive and lethal police force on the Aug. 18 police operation.
“Nakikita natin na may overkill dito…. Doon pa lamang ay may violation na sila ng proper way of conducting an arrest,” said Poe during the resumption of the inquiry of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on the government’s war on drugs.
Dr. Erwin Erfe of PAO’s forensic laboratory services and Chief Inspector Jocelyn Cruz of the NPD crime laboratory separately told Senate probers that Arnaiz had five gunshot wounds, there were handcuff marks on his wrists, had swollen eyes, contusions on both eyes and abrasions on his back, indicating that the teenager may have been dragged. Erfe said Arnaiz was on his knees when he was shot, while Cruz said the boy was in a supine or lying position upwards when he was killed based on the trajectory of the gunshot wounds.
Responding to Poe’s query if Arnaiz’s killing was an overkill based on his injuries, Erfe said “it looks like the victim was handcuffed [and] there are marks of handcuff and the victim was mugged.”
When asked by Poe whether it is normal that a victim or someone who resisted arrest or fought back could have sustained wounds as those of Arnaiz, Cruz responded that the boy “had a difficulty in fighting back” his assailants.
“Based on the autopsy on the body of the victim, there were multiple gunshot wounds and there were other injuries noted. It means that the victim wasn’t able to fight back easily,” Cruz said.
Poe, vice-chairperson of the committee, urged Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa to review police operations protocol and procedures in such cases, and apply restraint in some cases.
The 19-year-old Arnaiz went out to buy late night snack with his friend in Cainta, Rizal but did not return since, only to be found by his parents in a morgue. Police said the boy hailed a cab in Navotas and declared a heist in Caloocan, places which his parents said had not been visited by the teenager. Authorities also said the teenager opened fire against the policemen that prompted them to fire back and claimed that packs of marijuana and shabu were recovered from the teenager’s possession.
The taxi driver, who claimed he was a victim of a robbery, executed his first affidavit on Aug. 18 that reportedly lacked important details as to the plate number of his taxi and the identity of the alleged robber who took his wallet. He later executed a supplemental affidavit on Aug. 29 that positively identified Arnaiz as the suspect of the purported robbery.
Poe moved that the taxi driver and parents of Arnaiz be invited into the next hearing to hear his testimony.
The companion of Arnaiz, identified as 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, remained missing for three weeks since Arnaiz was killed. (Tawid News)