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NBI ordered to locate taxi driver

By JEFFREY DAMICOG

Where has the taxi driver gone?

Tomas Bagcal, whose robbery complaint led to the death of a 19-year-old former student of the University of the Philippines, is now the subject of a manhunt by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday ordered the NBI to locate the whereabouts of Bagcal who, according to the police reports, was robbed by Carl Angelo Arnaiz last Aug. 18 in Caloocan.

Arnaiz was shot dead following an alleged shootout. He turned out to be one of two teenagers who have gone missing since Aug. 17.

The other, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, turned up dead with 30 stab wounds in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija Wednesday.

The series of events prompted President Duterte to turn over the handling of the investigation to the NBI, although the police can still have their own parallel investigation.

In his department order, Aguirre said: “The National Bureau of Investigation, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Tomas Bagcal and granted authority to conduct investigation and case build-up over the alleged robbery against him by Mr. Carl Arnaiz and determine the factual circumstances that lead to the death of Mr. Arnaiz.”

“Importanteng importante na makuha natin ang driver na ito,” Aguirre said.

Bagcal could face charges if he is found making false police statements against Arnaiz, according to Aguirre.

The justice secretary also brought out the possibility that Bagcal could be used as a state witness against those responsible for the death of the students.

“As long as you do not appear to be the most guilty, pupuwede kang bigyan ng coverage ng WPP (witness protection program),” said Aguirre.

Meanwhile, Aguirre said Duterte has assured the family of Arnaiz that there will be a fair and impartial investigation of the killing.

“Inatasan ng Pangulo na ang NBI ang maging lead investigator dahilan sa may possibility na may involvement diyan ang pulis,” he said.

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