The immediate family of the late Carl Angelo Arnaiz, the teener who recently died in an alleged shootout with police in Navotas City, has been accepted into the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
This was announced after a conference involving Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, the Arnaiz family, and Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta.
The family members feared for their security after reporting the presence of suspicious motorcycle-mounted persons, whose faces were unfamiliar in the neighborhood, cruising near their house, as well as receiving threats to their safety.
The family of Carl Angelo’s companion, Reynaldo de Guzman, who was found dead a couple of days ago in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, were likewise accepted into the WPP on a provisional basis while the boy still lies in state and has not been buried.
Carl Angelo was last seen together with Reynaldo. Police claimed Carl Angelo tried to hold up a taxi and was chased down before exchanging gunfire with lawmen and dying in the firefight.
But the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensic examination of his remains painted a drastically different picture from the police narration of the incident, indicating that the crime scene where he was allegedly killed was “staged”.
The examination added that Arnaiz was apparently kneeling when shot, and his body bore injuries indicating he suffered physical abuse before he was killed.
Acosta said a double murder complaint is to be filed next week for the deaths of the two youth, considering that they both disappeared the same evening.
The forensic examiner believed that the crime scene where police claimed Arnaiz got killed was a “secondary crime scene” that was “staged”.
One of the discrepancies noted was the mismatch between the spent casing and the five gunshot wounds suffered by Arnaiz.
Furthermore, it was noted, the grassy patch seemed somewhat undisturbed for a scene where a firefight occurred.
In a related development, the taxi driver who had initially submitted an unsworn and infirm affidavit with missing information has himself disappeared, a development that has aroused concern on the part of Acosta.
The neighborhood is marked with a climate of fear. A relative of the Arnaizes said: “Of course, we are afraid. That’s why I don’t allow the kids to go out of the house.”
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