by Kate Javier
For the second time, the two former Caloocan City police officers tagged in the killing of teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo (Kulot) De Guzman pleaded not guilty during their arraignment in a Navotas court on Friday.
Police Officers 1 Ricky Arquilita and Jefrey Perez face double murder charges before the Navotas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Br Branch 287 Presiding Judge Romana Maria Melchora Del Rosario.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors refiled the murder raps in Navotas RTC after Judge Georgina Hidalgo of the Caloocan City RTC Branch 122 dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The court ruled that the cases were ‘filed in a wrong venue.’
The resolution came after the Department of Justice prosecutors filed a motion to withdraw the murder charges so that the cases could be refiled in the proper court.
During cross-examination of an eyewitness last March 2, it was learned that the supposed killing took place in adjacent Navotas City.
Hidalgo also denied the motions of the accused to dismiss not just the murder charges, but also the charges of torture and planting of evidence, so these cases remain under the Caloocan court.
The killing of Arnaiz, 19, and De Guzman, 14, along with Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17, reportedly by Caloocan City police officer sparked public outrage and criticism of the government’s war on drugs.
Arnaiz, 19, a former University of the Philippines (UP) student was killed by policemen after he allegedly robbed a taxi driver on August 18 along C3 Road in Barangay 28, Caloocan. He was found by his family in a morgue in Caloocan 10 days after.
De Guzman, 14, was discovered floating in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, 20 days later. De Guzman had at least 28 stab wounds and his head was wrapped with packaging tape.