Driver in alleged holdup by teenager exposes affidavit 'scripted' by police

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — A key witness in the death of a 19-year-old student in an alleged shootout said Monday his earlier sworn statements were fabricated upon orders of Caloocan City police.

Taxi driver Tomas Bagcal detailed in the affidavit he read before the Senate how the police asked him to revise his statement on how the August 18 holdup and shootout involving Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, happened. Bagcal was plying his route when he picked up Arnaiz, who then held him up.

"Scripted. Ito 'yung sinabi sa akin na sabihin ko... Lahat po ng laman ng unang ginawa nilang (affidavit), lahat 'yun wala sa katotohanan," Bagcal told the Senate hearing on the killing of teenagers Kian Delos Santos, Arnaiz, and his companion Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman in separate incidents involving Caloocan police.

[Translation: It was scripted. I was told what to say... Everything in the first affidavit was far from the truth.]

Bagcal told the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs police asked him to revise his affidavit to show that only one person — Arnaiz — robbed him. The portion that mentioned 14-year-old De Guzman was deleted. He said Arnaiz and De Guzman were together when the holdup took place on August 18 in Caloocan. The teenagers were alive when they were brought to the police.

He said he picked up Arnaiz and De Guzman in Pasig City, and asked him to drop them off on 5th Avenue in Caloocan City. Bagcal earlier said he picked up Arnaiz along Navotas Highway.

Bagcal said Arnaiz declared a holdup after they passed 5th Avenue in Caloocan. He said Arnaiz held a knife behind his ear, but he was able to dodge it, and caught the teen off guard. He said a tricycle driver noticed the commotion that prompted the teens to run away, but bystanders stopped them.

He said the tricycle driver and a barangay tanod from 5th Avenue helped him. He said the teenagers were brought to the police precinct on a tricycle as he followed them.

Bagcal said "Sir Jeffrey," referring to Caloocan officer PO1 Jeffrey Perez, called him on August 29 to revise his sworn affidavit. Bagcal and a new witness at the hearing named "Joe Daniel" tagged Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita as the police officers who shot Arnaiz.

"Yung stanza na 'Hinabol ang mga holdaper,' gusto nila ilalaglag si Kulot. Ang gusto nila, 'Hinabol ang holdaper.' Isa lang ang gusto nilang palabasin," he said in his first appearance in the Senate probe.

[Translation: The stanza, "Chasing the holduppers," they wanted to drop Kulot. They wanted, "Chasing a holdupper." They wanted to make it seem there was one holdupper.]

He added, "Sabi ko, 'Dalawa naman talaga 'yung pinresent ko sa inyo na buhay.' Nagsabi itong pulis, 'Mahirap ka bang pakiusapan?'"

[Translation: I said, "I presented two people who are alive." The police told me, "Is it hard to ask for a favor?"]

Bagcal said he agreed to revise his first sworn affidavit upon the Caloocan police officers' request because he feared for his life.

He recalled that during the robbing incident, De Guzman repeatedly said Arnaiz just tagged him along.

Bagcal is under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation as a witness.

Inconsistencies

Bagcal's new testimony is facing scrutiny as senators noted inconsistencies with that of Joe Daniel's.

Both identified the same crime scene near a gas station along C-3, but Bagcal said the attempted robbery happened at 4 a.m., while Joe Daniel said it was two hours earlier on August 18.

Daniel said he saw Arquilita and Perez at the crime scene, and Bagcal said he saw the two officers shoot Carl. Bagcal also mentioned a police officer named "Sir Lakay" or "Raras" as the person who implied to have the teenagers killed.

The taxi driver said he saw Carl kneeling with both his arms raised when Arquiliza and Perez shot him.

Joe Daniel has a different version of how the teenager was shot.

"Sa talambuhay ko ngayon lang ako nakakita ng nakadikit yung kamay niya sa police mobile patrol then ilang sagit lang nakatakbo sa may damuhan then nakaluhod siya nung binaril na nakaposas," he said.

[Translation: This is the first time I have seen someone's hands attached to the police mobile, then the next moment he was running in the grass, then he was handcuffed when he was shot.]

The Justice department will begin next week its preliminary investigation on the Arnaiz and De Guzman cases.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.