MANILA, Philippines — Forensic findings and statements of witnesses and the parents of Carl Angelo Arnaiz contradict or are different from the police and taxi driver Tomas Bagcal’s claims that the teenager died in a grassy, dark area along C-3 Road in Caloocan City during a shootout with authorities after he robbed Bagcal at gunpoint.
Government investigators only recovered from the crime scene three empty shells from a 9-millimeter gun and there were no slugs found in the area.
But Arnaiz died of five gunshot wounds — four in the chest and one in the abdomen –, according to Dr. Jocelyn Cruz, a forensic expert from the Northern Police District’s Scene of the Crime Operatives.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta on Thursday said it was possible that Arnaiz was first shot in a different area and then brought to where the police said the shootout allegedly took place.
“Nabaril na somewhere else, saka pa nilagay do’n,” Acosta said.
There was also no blood stains found in the crime scene, bolstering the belief of PAO forensic experts that Arnaiz was a victim of summary execution.
“Sa tama n’yang ‘yon, kahit papaano may makikita kang traces of blood kahit sabihin mong dalawang linggo na, dahil ang dugo hindi basta natutunaw ng tubig [With his gunshot wounds, you will at least see traces of blood even after two weeks because bloodstains can’t easily be erased by water],” said Acosta.
Arnaiz’s father, Carlito, also believes that his son was summarily executed.
“Kung di nila sinalvage bakit maraming pasa sa katawan? Kung nakipagbarilan ‘yan magkakaroon ba ng pasa sa katawan ‘yan o galos man lang [If they did not summarily execute him, would he have lots of bruises in his body? If he engaged in a shootout, would he have bruises or even cuts]?” said Carlito.
Also, Carlito doubted that Bagcal, who was much bigger and taller than Carl, won’t be able to fight back if he indeed was assaulted by the 19-year-old former University of the Philippines student.
“Ang anak ko, hindi naman gano’ng kalakihan ‘yon, tapos s’ya ang laki-laki. Isang balya lang sa kanya no’n, sigurado bagsak na ang anak ko [My son isn’t that big but he is so big. If he hit him once, my son would surely have fallen],” said Carlito.
Arnaiz’s parents were also puzzled why Carl was wearing a different set of clothes when they saw him at a morgue in Caloocan. On August 17, when he was seen with 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, Arnaiz was clad in red shirt and brown shorts and was carrying a brown sling bag.
But when he was found in the morgue, Arnaiz was already wearing a black cap, black Vans hoodie, Dickies denim shorts, and plastic flip-flops. His parents said the clothes were too big for their son.
Different cellphones, inconsistent affidavits
Also, the cellphone allegedly recovered by authorities from Arnaiz was with a keyboard. But according to his family, Arnaiz had a touchscreen Lenovo mobile phone.
Moreover, Arnaiz’s family questioned the allegedly conflicting statements that Bagcal said in his August 18 affidavit, immediately after the supposed robbery and in his August 29 affidavit, after Arnaiz’s mother Eva, identified the body in the morgue as that of her son.
In his August 18 affidavit, Bagcal said he didn’t know who robbed him and did not also mention what his supposed attacker was wearing.
But in his August 29 affidavit, Bagcal was already able to tell what Arnaiz was wearing when the alleged crime took place. His description of Arnaiz’s clothes — black sweatshirt with hood, black cap, denim short pants — was the same as that of the police.
Suspects or suspect?
In his first affidavit, Bagcal said there were more than one suspect in the supposed robbery, who both fled towards Pamasawata, a residential area along C-3 Road in Caloocan.
But in his second affidavit, he said there was only one suspect, who fled towards the same area.
Also, in his Aug. 18 statement, he said his arm was hit by Arnaiz but in his Aug. 29 affidavit, Bagcal said he was hit by the teenager in his hand.
Furthermore, Bagcal said in his first statement that Arnaiz declared a holdup as they reached the hall of Barangay 28. But In his second affidavit, Bagcal said his passenger declared a holdup along C-3 Road.
Also, Bagcal stated in his affidavit that he lives in Barangay 164 in Caloocan but reporters were able to locate him in Barangay 161.
“Nagsisinungaling s’ya. Iba-iba statement n’ya. Bakit gano’n? Ano ba, nabili ba s’ya o binayaran na [He is lying. His statements are inconsistent. Why is it like that? Was he bribed]?” said Carlito.