By JEL SANTOS • CHITO CHAVEZ
The taxi driver, who was allegedly held up by slain former University of the Philippines (UP) student Carl Arnaiz, resurfaced yesterday and bared that the teenager was still alive when he turned him over to Caloocan City policemen.
“Dinala ko siya sa police station nang buhay… Si Carl po ‘yun,” Bagcal said as he faced members of the media, admitting he is now under the protective custody of a rights group.
During the press conference, the 54-year-old cabbie narrated that Arnaiz robbed him on C3 Road, but he was able to apprehend him.
He said Arnaiz fired a gun inside car, yet he was able to fight him. He then ran after the teenager.
Concerned citizens, he said, punched the teenager when they nabbed them. “Pinigilan ko nga po sila nung binibugbog nila siya.”
Bagcal said that the cops brought him and Carl to C3 Road. He confirmed that they were with PO1 Jefrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita. The next thing he knew, Arnaiz was already dead after hearing successive gunshots.
Nakita ko siyang (Arnaiz) naglalakad. Tapos a few seconds, may putukan na akong narinig,” Bagcal recalled.
Bagcal also said that the crime scene was staged by the policemen.
“Naniniwala ako na scripted o staged [ang crime scene],” Bagcal said.
He claimed that he did not execute an affidavit on the robbery incident.
“May ano doon eh. Hindi iyong totoong statement iyon eh. Ang tinanong lang sa akin doon, birthday, pangalan saka edad at OR, CR ng sasakyan. Aside from doon, wala,” Bagcal said.
He added that the police just made him sign both affidavits.
Bagcal added that policemen at the Police Community Precinct (PCP) 2 of the Caloocan City Police Station asked to implicate a 14-year-old boy in the robbery.
However, Bagcal declined to say if the 14-year-old he was referring to was Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, who was last seen alive with Arnaiz.
De Guzman was fished out of a creek in Nueva Ecija last Tuesday. He sustained more than 30 stab wounds and his head was wrapped with packaging tape.
Bagcal vowed to help the family of Arnaiz attain justice, saying he will tell the truth in the Senate hearing.
“Isa akong tatay din. At masakit sa isang ama na mawalan. Kasi ako may mga anak din akong lalaki,” teary-eyed Bagcal said.
He said that he wants to stay under the custody of Rise Up for Life and for Rights, a group composed of church people and human rights advocates dedicated to working with poor families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings.
Bagcal said he don’t want to be placed under the protection of Public Attorneys’ Office, National Bureau of Investigation or Department of Interior and Local Government.
Rise Up said Bagcal is a potential witness that could shed light on what happened to Arnaiz.
Bagcal disclosed that his decision to seek protection from the rights group was influenced a relative who is also a former UP student.
The taxi driver said he was forced to seek protective custody after his apartment was ransacked by unidentified men after the death of Arnaiz.
R&E Taxi Company, the driver’s employer, said the last time Bagcal reported for work was on September 3. He was last seen by his roommate hurriedly leaving his apartment at Paras Compound on Rose St., Baesa, Caloocan.
To recall, Arnaiz was killed by policemen after he allegedly robbed Bagcal along C3 Road in Barangay 28, Caloocan, on August 18. Ten days after, he was found by his family in a morgue in Caloocan.
Caloocan police claimed that Arnaiz fired shots at the cops.