MANILA – Neighbors, relatives and friends bid farewell Tuesday afternoon to 19-year-old student Carl Arnaiz, as the Senate conducted hearings on his controversial death in the hands of policemen who said he had shot at them while being arrested for robbing at gunpoint a taxi driver.
It’s as if the heavens were also weeping as heavy downpours fell on many parts of the metropolis while the sweet-faced Carl – whom relatives and friends swear was as kind as he looked – was laid to rest at the San Roque Cemetery in Barangay Aliw in Pateros.
His father Carlito told InterAksyon that, “nanonood kami ng Senate hearing, pero hindi kami makakadalo dahil libing ngayon ni Carl, ipagpapatuloy namin ang kaso ni Geloy. Kahit wala kaming CCTV, siguro yun lang autopsy report. Binugbog nila bago patayin [We can’t attend the Senate hearing because it’s Carl’s burial today, but we’ll pursue Geloy’s case. Even though we don’t have CCTV footage, maybe the autopsy report showing he was tortured before being killed would be good enough].” The CCTV reference was to the footage used against Caloocan policemen in the case of another schoolboy, 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who they shot dead allegedly because he fought them when arrested in an anti-drug sweep through his neighborhood in Caloocan.
In Carl’s case, the UP student on leave – and former valedictorian of Makati Science High School – was found dead in Caloocan 10 days after he was reported missing by his grandmother, who said he had just stepped out to buy midnight snack with a 14-year-old neighbor, Reynaldo de Guzman. The latter remains missing.
“Kung ipapatawag, willing naman, basta sasabihin ni [PAO chief] Atty. [Persida] Acosta, kung papayag na pumunta kami sa Senado. (Pero) sana maubos na ang drug lord, sila ang nagkakalat ng droga, maubos na rin mga pusher, (pero) inaabuso din kasi ng ibang pulis, gusto lang nila maka-quota, kuha na lang sila nang kuha,” said Carlito.
[We will go to the Senate if summoned, or if Atty. Acosta tells us to go. I wish the drug lords would all be gone; as well as the pushers. They spread the drugs. But some policemen are also abusing the campaign, because they want to hit their quota. They just get people at random].
One thing Carlito will miss from his son is “nagpapamasahe sa akin. Minsan ayaw ko pero, minamasahe ko naman [Carl sometimes asks me to give him a massage. Sometimes I don’t feel like it, but I oblige him just the same].”
Carlito and his wife Eva, both wearing white, made urgent preparations for the send-off for their son who spent several days at the mortuary behind the basketball court of Anakpawis 2, Brgy. San Andres, West Bank in Cainta, Rizal.
According to Camille, elder sister of Carl, their mother, who works in Dubai, was only given seven days’ vacation leave when she rushed home as Carl went missing. The leave has been used up just with the 10-day search alone, however, and Eva’s boss had reportedly said that if she extends her stay further in Manila, she might run into visa problems when she returns to work.
To husband Carlito, however, there’s no point in returning. “Wala nang nilalaanan, ang sabi ko nga, dito na lang, kung hindi na pababalikin [We’re not saving up for anything anymore, with Carl gone. So I told her to just stay here, if they won’t take her back].”
Carlo Muring, still wearing his STI uniform, was a best friend and a classmate at Tibagan elementary school in Makati. He remembered Carl as “mabait at matalino [kind and bright]” but remembers best the time they went swimming on Carl’s birthday when they were in Grade 6.
UP Chancellor Michael Tan quietly dropped by and extended his condolences to Mrs. Eva Arnaiz. The two spoke for several hours atthe last night of the wake of the bemedalled student.
Chancellor Tan told InterAksyon that Eva was a bit tired answering all the media questions for the past several days, but shared their conversation with InterAksyon.
“Actually, [Carl is the] first UP student [who is an] EJK victim, kaya pumunta na ako dito, masyado akong affected. Although hindi na siya nag aaral sa UP, nakita ko ang records, nakuha ko sa kanila, super talino, valedictorian, may bright future [that’s why I came here; I was so affected. Though he has stopped studying, I saw his records–he was so bright, a valedictorian, he had a bright future].”
Tan lamented that, while “pinapalibre na ang bayad sa UP, pero me pinapatay naman ang [while tuition in UP is now free, they’re killing]….” and trailed off, referring to students. Tan expressed hope this would not become a “trend.”
He noted, speaking partly in Filipino, “we all know that most of those being killed are poor. This was on drugs is a war on the poor.” He said Carl’s mother had been slaving away in Dubai the past seven years; and Carl had been begging her not to return there.
“Yung tungkol sa mga patayan, hindi naman inutos, pero lumalakas ang loob ng mga pulis. Pinagsasalita nga kami, may assembly ang faculty, at alam din natin ‘yung kabataan na ginawang collateral damage, napaka-brutal,
kailangan magkamit ng katarungan, para sa iba pang biktima. Buhay ng kabataan (‘yan)” Chancellor Tan continued.
[As for the killings, we know there’;s no explicit order, but the police are being empowered. There’s a faculty assembly and we’re being asked to speak. The youth are becoming collateral damage and that’s brutal. There must be justice for all victims].
Another classmate way back his Makati Science HS days, 2nd year student Tomas Uriarte, described Carl thus: “masayahing tao, walang idle moments, lagi siyang nagpapatawa. Kahit mahirap ang pinagagawa sa school, ‘yun ang tumatak sa amin, kahit hectic ang sked, iba and bonding sa amin [He was always happy, always kidding around; there were no idle moments with him. Even when homework was hard or the shcedule was hectic, our bonding remained strong].”
He said he never expected Carl to die this way, considering how happy he always was, and hoped that wherever he is, Carl brings around his smile.