MANILA, Philippines — Before Caloocan authorities killed Carl Angelo Arnaiz while he was handcuffed and kneeling, a police officer only known as “Sir Lakay” or “Mister Raras” had already told the taxi driver who was allegedly robbed by Arnaiz, that they would have the 19-year-old former University of the Philippines student executed, so there would be fewer people stealing from taxi drivers.
“Itapon na lang ito, sabay senyas na gigilitan ng leeg [Just throw him away, which he accompanied with a gesture that he would have his neck cut],” Tomas Bagcal recalled Sir Lakay telling him before two other policemen allegedly carried out Arnaiz’s execution on a grassy lot along C-3 Road last August 18.
Testifying at the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday, Bagcal said he was inside a room at a police station along 9th Avenue in Caloocan when Sir Lakay allegedly told him about the policemen’s plan to kill Arnaiz.
The 54-year-old taxi driver got to the area after he was flagged down between 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. by two teenagers, whom he later identified as Arnaiz and his neighbor-companion, Reynaldo de Guzman.
“Sabi n’ya derecho mo lang kuya, lumagpas po kami ng MRT at bago dumating sa pilahan ng tricycle, nagdeklara itong si…’yong pinakamatanda na pasahero na holdap ito, sabay tutok ng kutsilyo sa likod ng tenga ko,” Bagcal recalled the older boy saying before pointing a knife at him.
[He said, just go straight. We passed by the MRT and before reaching a line of tricycles, he declared a holdup and I felt a gun behind my ear].
“At binigay ko agad ‘yong wallet ko sa holdaper. At napahinto na kami mismo do’n sa tapat ng terminal ng tricycle at napindot ko ‘yong ilaw sa harap ng taxi kaya napansin ng isang tricycle driver na may komosyon sa loob ng taxi ko.”
[I gave him my wallet right away. We stopped right in front of the tricycles’ queue. I had switched on one light, so that one trike driver noticed the commotion inside].
“At hindi pa rin n’ya tinanggal ‘yong kutsilyo sa ilalim ng tenga ko, at medyo ini-slide ko na para hindi pumasok ‘yong kutsilyo sa tenga ko. At no’ng makita ko na medyo maluwag na ‘yong pagkatutok n’ya, ini-slide ko na ganon, kaya may sugat po ‘yong kamay ko, dito sa may wrist ko. At nabitawan no’ng holdaper ‘yong patalim na tinutok n’ya sa likod, dito sa tabi ng tainga ko.”
[He kept his knife pointed behind my ear. When I felt his hand lighten, I slid my hand like this, that’s why it suffered a cut. The hold-up man had to let go off the knife].
Bagcal and a trike driver caught Arnaiz and De Guzman and brought them to the police
He said he was able to close the taxi with the power lock, so he could easily have the two boys arrested. But the younger boy was able to open the right side of the taxi, and they jumped out.
Bagcal said a tricycle driver approached him after noticing the commotion and helped him catch the robbers. As the two were pursing the boys, the younger one shouted that his companion was the thief and not him.
After catching Arnaiz and De Guzman, Bagcal asked the tricycle driver to help him bring the teenagers to the nearest police station.
Then a man, who saw them, introduced himself as a barangay tanod (village watchman) of Fifth Avenue and helped Bagcal and the trike driver to bring Arnaiz and De Guzman to a precinct.
The two boys boarded the tricycle with the tanod and the trike driver as Bagcal followed them on board his taxi.
They reached Ninth Avenue where they saw a policeman outside the station, who asked them what happened. The tanod said a robbery took place. Then the police asked who was the victim. Bagcal replied he was, adding that he brought the robbers with him.
Bagcal said the policeman told him, Arnaiz and, De Guzman to get inside the station, while the tanod and the trike driver were told leave the area.
Then Bagcal told the policeman that he would turn over the two boys to him. The cop asked the two where they came from. Bagcal said Arnaiz replied that he was from Cainta.
Afterwards, the policeman told Bagcal to go to a room in the station. As he was entering the area, Bagcal said he heard the policeman telling two other cops to bring Arnaiz and De Guzman inside the jail.
After about 10 minutes, the policeman entered the room where Bagcal was.
Bagcal reiterated that he would turn over the two to him. Then the policeman, according to Bagcal allegedly replied, “’Itapon na lang ito,’ sabay sensyas na gigilitan sa leeg.”
[Just throw him away, which he accompanied with a gesture that he would have his neck cut.]
Bagcal said he again told the policeman that he would turn over the two boys him. Then when the policeman left the room, Bagcal said he sent text messages to his children, telling them that he was robbed.
Bagcal feared he, too, would be killed
At that time, Bagcal said he was already fearing for his life and thought that he, with the two boys, could be killed by the policemen.
“Dahil sa takot at kaba ko na itatapon ang mga holdaper, naisip ko na p’wede rin akong isabay sa mga holdaper na papatatayin, kasama ko mga holdaper na iprinesent ko sa kanila,” he said.
Bagcal said he thought that his life was also in danger because the authorities at the station did not ask him to sign the police logbook, give his name and address and the name of the operator of the taxi he was driving.
“Higit sa lahat kasi, hindi nila ako ini-logbook, hindi rin nila tinanong kung anong pangalan ko at anong address ko at gano’n din ‘yong korporasyon ng taxi ko,” he said.
Then he said the policeman came back to his room and told him that he would go out with him and he should drive his taxi.
The two went out of the precinct and boarded Bagcal’s taxi. Another cop who followed them, brought out a gun, set it for firing, tucked it on his waist, before boarding the taxi.
‘Don’t you want to lessen the number of people who rob taxi drivers like you?
“Takot at kaba ako sa oras na ‘yon pagsakay namin sa taxi. Dumeretso kami ng 10th Avenue, sinabi uli nitong pulis na itapon itong mga holdaper na humoldap sa ‘kin,” said Bagcal.
[I was nervous and frightened at that time when we boarded the taxi. We went to 10th Avenue, the policeman again said those who robbed me would be thrown away.]
Bagcal said that while on their way to 10th Avenue, the policeman, who earlier talked to him, asked him if he was an Ilocano. He said yes and added that he came from Isabela.
The policeman said, he, too, was an Ilocano, then told Bagcal to just call him “Sir Lakay.”
Sir Lakay then asked Bagcal in the Ilocano language if he didn’t want to lessen the number of those who rob taxi drivers like him.
Bagcal said he didn’t reply and just continued driving until they reached 10th Avenue and then turned to the next street until they reached the corner of Ninth Avenue where Sir Lakay got out of the taxi and said he would buy cigarette in a bakery nearby.
Then Bagcal said he was able to contact somebody from R&E Taxi through his two-way radio and informed him that he was robbed and was at the police station on Ninth Avenue.
Afterwards, Sir Lakay returned and boarded the taxi. They went back to the precinct and Bagcal parked his vehicle beside the police station.
Bagcal then went to an area about 30 meters away from his taxi and peed. When he returned, Bagcal said he was told by Sir Lakay that the robbers would be brought out and boarded on a police mobile patrol car.
Sir Lakay then told his companions at the station that he and Bagcal would go ahead. Then Sir Lakay boarded Bagcal’s taxi and told him to drive slowly.
‘He was shot repeatedly while he was on his knees’
While he was driving, Bagcal observed that three persons, riding separately on motorcycles, had overtaken them. Then Bagcal said he noticed when they were nearing Fifth Avenue that he had other passengers at the back of the taxi –- another policeman and the two young robbers.
“Malapit na kami sa Fifth Avenue, napansin ko na may tatlong pasahero sa likod ko na do’n ko lang napansin…isang pulis at ‘yong dalawang holdaper.”
When they reached Dagat-Dagatan, Bagcal said Sir Lakay told him to turn right. He then parked his taxi near the gate on C-3 Road, where they stayed for about 30 minutes.
Bagcal said Sir Lakay got out of the taxi and talked to someone on his mobile phone. After about two minutes later, Sir Lakay went back to the taxi and Bagcal saw a trailer truck that parked in front of them.
Bagcal said this was the place where the older robber was shot repeatedly by policemen while he was on his knees.
“Pinagbabaril na po ‘yong holdaper at nakaluhod po s’ya,” he said.
Bagcal pointed to Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita as the ones who had killed Arnaiz.
READ RELATED STORY: SHOOTOUT OR EXECUTION? | Forensic findings, witnesses’ statements clash with driver, cops’ claims on how Carl Arnaiz died
Asked by Sen. Grace Poe if he was able to hear Arnaiz’s last words before he was killed, Bagcal said he couldn’t because he was far from the victim. He said he only saw what Arnaiz looked like before his execution – kneeling, with his hands raised.
“Malayo po ako. ‘Yong hitsura lang po nya: nakaluhod na nakataas ‘yong kamay.”
Another witness, who identified himself as Joe Daniel, said during the Senate hearing that he was near the crime scene and saw the pitiful face of the man before he was shot to death.
“Nakita ko ‘yong mukha no’ng lalaki. Nakakaawa ‘yong mukha n’ya,” he said.
“Nakatakbo na po s’ya sa damuhan and then nakaluhod po s’ya noong binaril na may posas [He was able to run in a grassy area and he was kneeling and handcuffed when he was gunned down],” the witness added.
Asked by Poe to identify the policemen who allegedly killed Arnaiz, Daniel, like Bagcal, also pointed to Perez and Arquilita.
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