Karapatan accuses police force following teen's killing anew
MANILA - Human rights group Karapatan said the country's police force has become "the greatest organized criminal syndicate" following the death of a teenager from the hands of lawmen in Caloocan City.
On August 18, the 19year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz was found just 10 days after he went missing from his home in Cainta town in Rizal province. Caloocan police alleged that Arnaiz hailed a cab in Navotas City north of Manila and tried to rob its driver as they reached Caloocan.
Police claimed the driver chanced upon lawmen and sought help. The police fired shots against Arnaiz when he allegedly open fired. The police report also claimed that packs of marijuana and crystal meth were recovered from the teenager’s possession.
Forensic experts, however, are telling a different story. According to Dr. Erwin Erfe, chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensic laboratory services, there were indications that Arnaiz was tortured before he was shot.
Erfe raised the possibility that the teenager was dragged and beaten up, handcuffed, and probably already kneeling or lying down when he was shot. The same source claimed that there are no indications of Arnaiz firing a gun, although the police said he had traces of gun powder on his right hand.
The 19-year-old was a former University of the Philippines (UP) student, and graduated valedictorian from Makati Science High School.
"This fascist drug war campaign is not only exposing the police force as among the greatest organized criminal syndicate in this country, but also as expert fabricators and fake news peddlers. Police reports and the planting of evidence have become an exercise of imagination for policemen trying to justify how they murdered fellow Filipinos," said Karapatan Secretary-general Cristina Palabay.
"For policemen salivating for rewards and running after quotas, everyone can be a target of the drug war; anyone can magically turn up with a pack of marijuana in their bags after police inspection; anyone can falsely become a drug pusher or user in police reports. This case, similar to the killing of Kian delos Santos, merits the complete overhaul and immediate end to Duterte’s ruthless drug war campaign," she added.
Palabay cited that such acts are punishable under the Anti-torture Law of 2009, or Republic Act 9745. She said that perpetrators of this heinous crime should be immediately prosecuted and jailed. "This latest case under the spate of killings in line with the Duterte’s war on drugs is not isolated. There are more lies hidden in police reports, more of the Filipino youth to turn up dead in dark alleyways if the current state of things were to continue. The torture and killing of a 19-year-old is a continuing validation of how this entire campaign by Duterte willfully violates people’s right to due process and to life," she said.
"We call on our fellow Filipinos to strengthen our resolve against blatant rights violations committed with impunity. We reiterate that this is a State policy, enabled and funded by the government. Lest we continue using our own resources to fund the killing of our own youth, this whole brutal, callous campaign should immediately stop, and its perpetrators be brought to justice," Palabay added.
The Senate also opened up its own investigation into the killing. Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said they are also investigating Arnaiz's killing and had relieved the policemen involved in the shooting. He also strongly denied that policemen were behind the spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug pushers.