MANILA — Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta welcomed the filing of criminal charges against two Caloocan policemen linked to the killing of teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman in August last year.
Acosta said the indictment made by the National Prosecution Service (NPS) proved it did not condone any summary killing committed by state agents in the country.
“Justice prevailed. The PAO and the NPS belong to the state, and we will not tolerate any illegal killings, even by state agents,” Acosta said in a text message to reporters on Saturday. “This case proves that there are no state-sponsored illegal killings.”
The filing of charges against the two cops was based on the complaint lodged by the parents of Carl Angelo and Kulot, who were represented by the PAO.
Acosta said the families of the victims were very thankful to all those who supported the search for truth on Carl and Kulot’s death.
She said their next step was to closely coordinate with the DOJ panel of prosecutors for the trial of the suspects.
In a 35-page resolution released Friday, a three-man DOJ panel of prosecutors, led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, found probable cause to indict Police Officer 1 (PO1) Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita on two counts each of murder and planting of evidence in violation of Section 38 of Republic Act (RA) No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act, in connection with the handgun found with Arnaiz.
The justice department also filed two more counts of planting of evidence in violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, due to the shabu and marijuana found with Arnaiz, and two counts of torture in violation of Sections 4 and 14 of RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 before the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court.
Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. said murder charges were filed against the two policemen for killing the teens “without any danger to their lives”.
“Murder was filed because it was done in a treacherous manner without risk to themselves,” he told reporters Friday.
Catalan said the panel cleared taxi driver Tomas Bagcal from indictment even after insisting that Arnaiz robbed him.
“The panel found no probable cause against Tomas Bagcal, considering there were no overt acts, for his participation was not clear. So, his case was dismissed,” said the Prosecutor General.
“The panel of prosecutors would be handling the prosecution of this case unless referred or endorsed by the Department to the Office of the City Prosecutor of Caloocan, in which case, the prosecutors of Caloocan will be handling the prosecution of these cases,” he said.