PNP: Carl Arnaiz tests positive for gunpowder; no witness in 'shootout'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — Slain teenager Carl Arnaiz tested positive for gunpowder nitrates, but no one aside from policemen and the cab driver he supposedly robbed saw him open fire.

This was revealed during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, as lawmakers probed the killing of 19-year-old Arnaiz who was laid to rest in the afternoon.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory released results of the paraffin test they conducted on Arnaiz, who was found with a .38-caliber revolver in his possession. His firearm had no serial number, police said.

Reading a spot report, Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the former University of the Philippines student hailed a cab in Navotas City at around 3:30 a.m. on August 18, asking the driver to take him to 5th Avenue in Caloocan City

"When they reached C3 the suspect drew his gun, and declared a heist… took the wallet of the victim and hit the latter using his gun causing injury then alighted thereat," Albayalde said.

The driver, identified as Tomas Bagcal reported the incident to the patrolling Caloocan policemen, who rushed to the crime scene.

"Responding police personnel identified themselves as law enforcers. However the suspect drew his firearm and successively fired shots towards the responding police officers. That caused the death of Carl Arnaiz," Albayalde said.

PO2 Rodolfo Bautista, chief investigator of the Caloocan City Police Station said he received a call at around 4 a.m. reporting a shooting incident.

Bautista could not say how long the shootout that resulted in Arnaiz's death lasted, but he said it was "very brief."

Senator Joel Villanueva asked him, "May witnesses po ba tayo na nagsasabi na nakipagbarilan po talaga si Carl (Do we have witnesses saying Carl really opened fire)?"

Bautista said there were no other witnesses and there was no CCTV in the area.

"During that time, other than yung complainant, mga responding police officers po yung mga tao dun (Other than the complainant, only the responding police officers were there)."

Arnaiz's companion, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, is still missing three weeks since Arnaiz was killed.

READ: Caloocan cops relieved as police investigates death of ex-UP student

'Overkill'

Both forensics results of the PNP and the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) showed Arnaiz sustained five gunshot wounds and the boy could have not possibly fought back.

PAO Forensics Lab Director Dr. Erwin Erfe said Arnaiz was handcuffed and tortured before he was killed.

"We also noted marks of hand cuffs in the wrists of Carl, also swollen eyes, contusions of both eyes and extensive drag marks or abrasions, gasgas po," Erfe said.

Police Inspector Jocelyn Cruz, who conducted an autopsy on Carl's body, said there was indeed hematoma or swelling in the right eye, and abrasions and bruises in other parts of the body.

"There were multiple gunshot wounds and there were other injuries noted so it means that the victim was not able to fight back easily," Cruz said.

Senator Grace Poe said the teenager's slay was an "overkill."

PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, however said it is part of policemen's training to restrain with the use of force in an encounter with suspects.

He has said the Caloocan policemen tagged in Arnaiz's killing have been relieved from their posts as authorities conduct their investigation.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to build a case over the death of Arnaiz. He added NBI can file charges against those found to be involved in Arnaiz's death.

Inconsistencies

Bautista admitted he committed lapses in taking the Bagcal's affidavit, resulting in inconsistencies that cast doubts in its credibility.

Bautista said he initially failed to get the driver's name and his cab's plate number on August 18, and the police were only able to contact the driver again through Police Officer 1 Jeffrey Perez, one of the police officers tagged in Arnaiz's killing.

"Ito nga yung mahirap e yung kasangkot na officer siya yung may contact sa taxi driver (This is what's difficult, when the officer involved has the driver's contact number)," Poe said.

PAO Chief Persida Acosta said the affidavit was not even sworn and the driver's address as written there was not his real residence. "Medyo vague po talaga yung affidavit na to (This affidavit is really quite vague)."

Acosta pointed out that in the August 18 affidavit, Bagcal was asked, "Nakikilala mo ba kung sino ang nangholdap sayo (Do you recognize you hold upper)?

"Ang sabi niya 'hindi' (He said 'no')," Acosta said, quoting the affidavit.

Bautista said the question was meant to ask the suspect's identity, but the driver positively identified Arnaiz as his assailant by pointing at his dead body lying on the crime scene before the police officers.