Relatives of Carl Angelo Arnaiz attend mass at Mater Dolorosa Parish in East Rembo, Makati before his burial at the San Roque cemetery in Pateros, Sept. 5, 2017.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File photo
Acosta: State prosecutors, not PAO, handle Carl-Kulot slay case
Kristine Joy Patag ( - April 18, 2018 - 1:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta said that it was the state prosecutors and not the PAO, who are currently on top of the case pursuing the conviction of cops over the slay of Carl Arnaiz and Kulot de Guzman.

Acosta, who was involved in the preliminary probe into the case, told in a phone interview that the state prosecutors are not conferring with them for the ongoing court trial of the double murder case against Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez and Ricky Arquilita.

“In my opinion, bawal kami magtrial 'dyan. Ang may control nyan, mga prosecutor,” Acosta said. (In my opinion, we cannot be involved in the trial. It is the state prosecutor who has control over the case.)

“Hindi nagcoconfer samin ang mga piskal eh (the prosecutors are not conferring with us),” she added.

In a newspaper report, the defense lawyer Dodjie Encinas said that the jurisdiction mix-up could have been avoided if the investigative arms of the government—the National Bureau of Investigation and the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group—took charge of the case build up at the Department of Justice.

The PAO chief said that she was not present in the trial hearing on Tuesday, April 17.

The PAO stood as the legal counsels of Arnaiz and De Guzman, the private complainants in the case, during the preliminary investigation.

In January 2018, the DOJ issued a 35-page resolution indicting Perez and Arquilita for double murder, torture and planting of evidence over the brutal killing of the two teenagers.

The DOJ noted in its resolution that the accused cops were about to arrest Arnaiz for robbing cabbie Tomas Bagcal along C3 Road, Caloocan City. The panel also “lent credence” to the testimony of witness “Joe Daniel” on “what transpired in the early morning of August 18, 2016 as he happened to be at the place where the subject incident occurred.”

During the court trial, however, it was learned that the exact area where Arnaiz was killed was along C3 Road Dalagang Bukid and Tanigue streets, which falls under the territorial jurisdiction of Navotas, not Caloocan where the case is currently being tried.

It was also Joe Daniel’s testimony during the trial that pushed the prosecutors to file a motion for withdrawal of the murder charges.

On Tuesday’s hearing, however, Judge Hidalgo said that the murder charges against the cops may be “dismissed without prejudice” since laws do not allow withdrawal of charges mid-trial.

Should the refiling of the case takes place in a Navotas court, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured that it will “not affect the merits of the case.”

Guevarra added that he would “look into the matter more closely.”

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