MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police on Monday asked the public to hold off judgement against his men pending an investigation into the alleged shootout that killed 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
"I would like to caution everyone to please not be so quick on condemning our policemen," PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa told reporters.
Arnaiz, a freshman at the University of the Philippines until he dropped out, was shot dead by lawmen after allegedly attempting to rob a taxi driver in Caloocan last August 18, according to a police spot report. Forensic experts however found possible signs of torture on the teenager's body, including bruises and handcuff marks.
The boy was killed in the same week that 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, whom police accused of delivering drugs, was killed during an anti-drug sweep in Caloocan.
Witnesses have claimed Delos Santos was mauled by officers and given a gun, contrary to police claim that he died in a shootout. Police also admitted that they verified the Grade 12 student's alleged drug links on social media, only a day after his killing.
Dela Rosa said the PNP is ready to face any probe into the Arnaiz case, but downplayed its supposed similarities to the Delos Santos killing.
"Ibang-iba po ang kaso na iyan [ni Arnaiz]. That is a case of police response, nag-responde po sila dahil may taxi driver na hinoldap at pagdating doon sa area, itinuro ng taxi driver, 'Iyan sir ang nangholdap sa akin.' Noong akmang i-a-accost, nakipagbarilan," he said.
-- With Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News