MANILA- The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to find the taxi driver allegedly robbed by Carl Angelo Arnaiz, the teen killed in a supposed police shootout last month.
In a department order Thursday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II tasked the NBI to look for driver Tomas Bagcal and investigate the alleged robbery last month, where Arnaiz had ended up dead.
Aguirre said he is even offering provisional witness protection coverage for Bagcal so that he could come forward and tell the truth about the incident.
“Kung totoong siya’y talagang nabiktima, then siya ay biktima, so
pupuwede siya mag apply. Kung totoo naman na siya’y napilitan lamang gumawa ng statement, then pupwede siya mag-apply... As long as you don’t appear to be the most guilty, pupuwede kang bigyan ng coverage ng WPP,” Aguirre said.
“Kasi, if ever na magkakaroon ng posibleng gawing state witness, isa siya (Bagcal) sa posibleng gawin natin,” he added.
Police operatives shot Arnaiz dead on Aug. 18 after the 19-year-old allegedly robbed Bagcal. Marijuana leaves were reportedly recovered from the teenager.
Autopsy findings meanwhile suggested the boy may have been tortured, contrary to police's claim that he was killed in a shootout with lawmen.
Bagcal has submitted two sworn affidavits with different details of the alleged robbery.
In his first affidavit submitted on Aug. 18, Bagcal said he did not see the face of his supposed mugger and that he was robbed past the barangay hall of Barangay 128 in Caloocan City.
But Bagcal changed his narration in his second affidavit filed Aug. 29.
Contrary to his initial statement, Bagcal claimed that his mugger was wearing a sweat shirt with a hood, a black cap, and blue shorts, and was carrying a bag. He also claimed that the robbery happened along C-3 Road.
WITNESS PROTECTION ALSO OFFERED TO DE GUZMAN'S PARENTS
Aguirre also disclosed that the justice department has offered provisional witness protection coverage to Eduardo and Lina de Guzman, parents of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, Arnaiz's companion on the night he disappeared.
The boy was found with multiple stab wounds, his head wrapped in packing tape, in Gapan, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday.
“Sabi kong ganyan 'kung kayo (de Guzman couple) natatakot, then we are going to offer you the provisional coverage of WPP (Witness Protection Program),'" Aguirre said. -- Reports from Johnson Manabat and Ina Reformina