The missing link: NBI hunting down cab driver in Arnaiz slay
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to locate the taxi driver who was allegedly robbed by former University of the Philippines student Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who was killed in an alleged shootout with members of the Caloocan police last month.
In his Department Order No. 597, Aguirre directed NBI Director Dante Gierran to locate the whereabouts of Tomas Bagcal and conduct a probe and case build-up over the alleged robbery incident committed against him by Arnaiz and determine the factual circumstances surrounding the latter’s death.
“Nag-issue ako ng department order just now directing the NBI na hanapin itong tao na ito. Tignan kung nasaan. Kasi if ever na magkakaroon ng posibleng gawing state witness, ay isa siya sa posibleng gawin natin, (I have issued a department order just now directing the NBI to locate this person (Tomas Bagcal). Let’s check where he is. If ever, there is a possibility of him become a state witness.) ” Aguirre told reporters.
Bagcal, 54, who issued two affidavits in Caloocan police dated Aug. 18, said he could not identify the robber but on his Aug. 29 affidavit, he described the robber has the same clothes with the ones worn by Arnaiz.
Bagcal also gave different locations on where the incident took place.
“Hindi lang person of interest kasi siya ay kung siya ay talagang hinoldap, then siya ay biktima. Pero kung hindi naman, at siya ay gumawa lamang ng salaysay niya, then pwede siya masama sa idedemanda. Kaya importanteng importante na makuha natin ang driver na ito (He is not just a person of interest because if it is true that he was robbed, he is a victim. But if he just made up all these lies, he can be sued. That is why it is important that we get this driver.)” he stressed.
In a related development, Aguirre said the NBI has conducted full autopsy on Reynaldo De Guzman’s body, the companion of Arnaiz, while the forensic experts from the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) at present is also conducting its own autopsy.
De Guzman and Arnaiz were last seen together on the night of August 17 while buying snacks in a convenience store near their residences in Cainta, Rizal.
Arnaiz was found dead with five gunshot wounds and bruises in Caloocan 10 days after they went missing, while De Guzman’s body, on the other hand, was found in Nueva Ecija with 30 stab wounds and his head wrapped in packaging tape last Tuesday.
“I’m sure na tapos na ang autopsy ng NBI, at magkakaroon ng reautopsy ang PAO para ma-establish yun. Kasi kung yan ay namatay ng Sept 5, tapos nakita Sept 6, so it means that a few hours (have) passed bago makita ang bangkay, kaya malalaman yan ng mga expert, mga medico legal officer (I’m sure that the NBI has finished its autopsy. The PAO will then conduct a reautopsy to establish (the circumstances). If he really died and Sept.5 and then he was found on Sept. 6, it means a few hours have passed before the body was recovered. That way, the experts and the medico legal officers will know),” the DOJ chief noted.
PAO forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe said the body of De Guzman was thrown at a river in Gapan, Nueva Ecija less than 24 hours after he was killed.
Erfe said De Guzman’s eyes were swollen as well as his nose.He had bruises in his body apart from the multiple stab wounds he sustained.
De Guzman’s body was taken to the PAO’s forensic laboratory for a post mortem forensic analysis.
The NBI has conducted full autopsy of the victim’s body Wednesday evening at a funeral parlor in Nueva Ecija.
Meanwhile, Aguirre made an assurance and upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte that they will conduct an independent and impartial investigation on the killing of Arnaiz through the NBI.
“President Rodrigo Duterte said to the parents that he will ask the NBI to take over the investigation of Carl Arnaiz killing. (The) President Duterte assured the parents that the investigation to be conducted by the NBI under DOJ Sec. Aguirre will be fair and impartial,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre ordered Carl Angelo’s parents to be placed under the provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
On Monday, the DOJ chief directed the NBI to conduct a probe and case build-up on the death of Arnaiz.
The Arnaiz couple, along with the PAO chief, on Monday went to the DOJ to seek assistance for the immediate investigation of their son’s killing.
Acosta said they are still gathering more evidence before filing a case against the policemen involved in the operation.
She said initial investigation and forensic analysis contradicted the claim of policemen that Arnaiz was killed in a shootout.
The two policemen involved in the incident – Police Officer 1 Ricky Arquilita and Jeffrey Perez – have been relieved from their posts pending the investigation into the incident.
The death of Arnaiz and De Guzman came after 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos was also killed by members of the Caloocan police in a supposed anti-drug operation last August 16. (PNA)