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26 or 28 stab wounds, not 30

An activist belonging to Youth Resist holds placards in front of Camp Crame in Quezon City yesterday as groups condemned the brutal slay of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman and denounced the alleged ‘kill policy’ of the Philippine National Police. BOY SANTOS                                                                                 

MANILA, Philippines — Three government agencies conducting separate investigations have different findings on how many stab wounds 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman sustained from his killers.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), the first agency to conduct an autopsy on De Guzman’s body that was fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija last Tuesday, found around 30 stab wounds.

A day after the PNP’s autopsy report came out, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) conducted separate forensic examinations on the teenager’s body.

The NBI re-autopsy showed 26 stab wounds while PAO’s report showed 28.

Both NBI and PAO autopsy reports suggested possible torture on the victim before he was killed.

PAO’s forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe revealed that De Guzman had three fatal stab wounds while most of the other wounds were defense wounds or those sustained while defending himself from the attack.

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Erfe further bared that the victim’s eyes and nose were swollen and he also had bruises that suggested a struggle during the killing.

“We saw three episodes here – first he was mauled, and then he was fatally stabbed two or three times, and then there were multiple stabs after,” he explained in a press conference at the PAO main office in Quezon City.

De Guzman was found dead last Tuesday floating in a creek in Nueva Ecija with his head wrapped in packing tape.

He was the companion of former University of the Philippines student Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, who was killed by Caloocan police in a supposed shootout last Aug.18.

De Guzman and Arnaiz were last seen together on the night of Aug. 17 while buying snacks in a convenience store near their residences in Cainta, Rizal.

Arnaiz was found dead with five gunshot wounds and bruises in Caloocan 10 days after they went missing.  

The Caloocan police claimed that responding police officers gunned down Arnaiz in a shootout after the teenager robbed a taxi driver.

The NBI forensic team supported the findings of PAO, citing indications that the killers continued to stab De Guzman even when he was already dead.

They said the victim sustained fatal stab wounds in his lungs and heart.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the autopsy reports are crucial in the parallel probes on De Guzman’s killing.

“Through the autopsy, we would be able to determine when the victim was killed. That would be easy to establish,” he told reporters in an ambush interview at the DOJ in Manila.

The Northern Police District (NPD) Crime Laboratory said yesterday that Arnaiz was not killed at close range.

Supt. Arnel Marquez, chief of the NPD Crime Laboratory, said there were no signs of tattooing or smudging on Arnaiz’s body based on the autopsy report, signs which would have indicated he was shot at close range.

“The finding was the muzzle of the firearm was about two feet from the body,” Marquez told a press conference in Camp Crame.

Marquez said it remained unclear if Arnaiz was on his knees when shot, noting the trajectory of the wounds was in an upward direction.

“It means the muzzle of the firearm is slightly downward compared to the body,” he said.

Sought to clarify the statement at the Senate by their medico legal officer, Chief Inspector Jocelyn Cruz, that the assailant was likely in a standing position while Arnaiz was in a supine or kneeling position when shot, Marquez said there are many possibilities when it comes to gunshot wounds.

“It’s possible he was lying but the direction of the bullet compared with the body has many possibilities,” said Marquez.

Among them is that Arnaiz could have been in a higher position during the reported encounter with police.

On the lone gunshot to the stomach, Marquez said Arnaiz could have been supine when he was hit as the wound was slightly upward.

The abrasions on his body, including the markings on Arnaiz’s wrist, occurred when he was still alive as there were indications of tissue reaction. With Emmanuel Tupas

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