MANILA - Two Caloocan City policemen charged for the double slay of 19-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman on Thursday maintained that the former fired at them when they responded to a reported robbery on the night the teens were killed.
In a joint counter-affidavit submitted Thursday to a 3-member Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating panel, Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita of Police Community Precinct 2 maintained that what transpired on Augut 18 “was a legitimate police operation and what we have done… is pursuant to the mission and vision of the [Philippine National Police].”
This amid allegations that they had murdered Arnaiz after forensics experts found possible signs of torture in the teen's body.
The complaint against them and taxi driver Tomas Marleo Bagcal for double murder, torture, and planting of evidence stemmed from the shooting of Arnaiz and the stabbing of De Guzman.
Perez and Arquilita did not deny shooting Arnaiz on C-3 Road but insisted that the latter shot at them first when they responded to Bagcal’s call for help.
Bagcal had claimed Arnaiz robbed him.
Perez and Arquilita said they were not aware of the robber's identity until the incident was reported by the media.
Narrating the incident, they said that upon reaching Bagcal's taxi, they saw Arnaiz and told him to stop walking as they introduced themselves as police officers.
"... [A]s we [took cover] behind a post... in the area, this person instead of stopping, faced us, drew his gun and started shooting [at] us, our instinct when he fired shots [at] us was also to fire shots [at] him [to protect] our lives," Perez and Arquilita’s joint counter-affidavit read.
"...[A]fter the exchange [of] shots, we saw that this person fell down and slumped to the ground; we waited for a few seconds before we went to him, I (Perez) kicked the gun way from him and we felt that he was no longer moving,” it read.
There was no mention of De Guzman in the joint counter-affidavit.
De Guzman’s body was recovered in Gapan, Nueva Ecija 20 days after he and Arnaiz were last seen alive. Police are disputing this, citing a DNA test on the body that did not match samples taken from De Guzman's parents.
The two officers' narration was supported in part by Bagcal’s claim in his handwritten counter-affidavit that he was robbed by two male passengers.
Bagcal, however, claimed that the policemen said they wanted to kill the two alleged robbers, and that he witnessed the policemen shoot Arnaiz.
Bagcal added that respondent policemen instructed him to follow a certain “script” should someone “interview” him, and that is to narrate that one of the robbers shot at them when they responded to his call for help.
Investigating prosecutors set the next hearing on the case on Oct. 23 for the submission of the complainants' reply.