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DNA test challenged

By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Based on the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the body fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija last week was not that of 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.

The police said the DNA test from the samples taken from the cadaver and those from De Guzman’s parents was a 99.9 percent negative match.

However, Kulot’s father Eduardo Gabriel refused to accept the PNP findings and asked for a new round of DNA tests to be conducted by another institution.

Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta dismissed the announcement of the PNP regarding the DNA findings, saying the body was identified by De Guzman’s parents themselves as that of their son.

Also, there were several marks found on the corpse, including a wart on the leg, that matched those of Kulot. Acosta questioned who asked the PNP to conduct a DNA test.

But Attorney Jose Justiniano, a criminal law expert, said it is the prerogative of a police investigator to have the DNA of an unidentified body tested to establish its identity.

Despite the DNA test, De Guzman’s parents remain firm in the belief that the cadaver belongs to that of their missing son.

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Kulot was last seen with 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz on August 17 before they both went missing.

Arnaiz allegedly shot it out and was killed by members of the Caloocan City police who reportedly accosted him for robbing a cab driver. However, autopsy reports indicate that Arnaiz could not have fought back when shot by the police.

The cab driver himself, Tomas Bagcal, claimed Arnaiz was still alive when he took him to a precinct following the alleged robbery and the “shootout” as claimed by the police was merely “scripted”.

Another vital witness surfaced at the office of Senator Panfilo Lacson. This 21-year-old man said he saw a boy, believed to be De Guzman, together with Arnaiz inside the police vehicle before the killing took place.

President Duterte said some quarters may be using the recent teen deaths as a way to sabotage his campaign against illegal drugs and criminality to fuel public anger.

Firing Line is in total support of the government’s fight against drugs. But how can a teen death be perceived as an act of sabotage when forensic analysis revealed that Arnaiz was shot while already on the ground, possibly tortured and handcuffed as well?

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