Hontiveros calls for PNP reforms after conviction of cop for Carl-Kulot torture

Hontiveros calls for PNP reforms after conviction of cop for Carl-Kulot torture
Police Officers 1 Jeffrey Perez (left) and Ricky Arquilita attend a Senate inquiry into the cases of teenagers killed in police anti-narcotics operations on Sept. 5, 2017.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police should implement reforms that will prevent cops from being emboldened to commit brutal crimes, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Thursday.

Hontiveros issued the statement after the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 122 found Patrolman Jeffrey Perez guilty of torture and planting of evidence in the killings of teenagers Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.

The killings were believed to have been carried out under the bloody “war on drugs” of the previous Duterte administration.

“This case shows us that state violence is not law enforcement. It shows that torture, planted evidence and false police reports have no place in our national police force,” Hontiveros said.

“Justice is not served when only the foot soldiers are called to account,” she added, stressing the whole policy of the “war on drugs” must be called into question.

Perez was charged with torture and planting of evidence with fellow Patrolman Ricky Arquilita, but the latter died in prison of suspected viral hepatitis B in April 2019. They also face murder charges that are pending before the Navotas court.

The opposition senator also urged the government to reconsider joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) “so that justice can run its course quicker” and the PNP to implement institutional reforms “that will prevent officers and personnel from acting so brazenly and being emboldened into committing such brutal crimes." 

“Full accountability is the only way the public can once again trust the institutions meant to protect them,” Hontiveros said.

Arnaiz went missing on the night of August 17, 2017. His body was found 11 days later at a funeral home in Caloocan City.

The former University of the Philippines student was accused of supposedly robbing a taxi driver and fired back at responding cops, prompting the authorities to shoot him.

Nearly a month later, the parents of De Guzman were informed that their son’s body was found floating at a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

It took almost five years to resolve the torture and planting of evidence charges filed against the Caloocan cops. The murder trial involving 17-year-old Kian delos Santos concluded in November 2018, or after a speedy year-long trial with the conviction of three police officers. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Kristine Joy Patag

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