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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Cop convicted of murder in 2 boys’ deaths in drug war

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THE Regional Trial Court of Navotas City has found Caloocan policeman Jefrey Perez guilty of two counts of murder in relation to the killings of two young boys, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” De Guzman, at the height of the controversial war on drugs in August 2017.

In an 89-page decision issued by Navotas RTC Presiding Judge Romana Lindayag del Rosario, the court sentenced Perez to reclusion perpetua for each count.

Perez was likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of Arnaiz in the amount of P390,000 in damages and the heirs of De Guzman, P300,000.

In November 2022, Perez was convicted  by Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 122 Presiding Judge Rodrigo Pascua of planting of evidence and torture, also in connection with the twin killings.

For violation of Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2010 against Arnaiz, the court sentenced Perez to a prison term of six months as minimum to four years and two months as maximum.

For violation of the same law with relation to De Guzman, the police officer was sentenced to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.

In the case of planting evidence against Arnaiz, the court meted out two life terms to Perez, in addition to “absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office.”

He was also directed to pay the heirs of Arnaiz and De Guzman the amount of P2 million for each of the victim’s heirs representing moral and exemplary damages.

The charges against Perez’s co-accused PO1 Ricky Aquilita were dismissed owing to his death.

The Navotas RTC gave credence to the testimony of lone eyewitness Joe Daniel who provided “a complete and detailed account of the whole incident, from the moment he personally saw the victims” together with Perez and Aquilita until the time Arnaiz was killed.

“Joe Daniel did not only testify and describe the events chronologically, but he moreover provided particular details, which only a credible eyewitness could convey and deliver,” the decision read.

The killing of Arnaiz and De Guzman happened at the height of the anti-illegal drug war of the Duterte administration.

Arnaiz and De Guzman, who were neighbors in Cainta Rizal, decided to go out for a snack on the evening of August 18, 2017 but failed to return home.

Ten days later, their bodies were found in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, with Arnaiz sustaining gunshot wounds while De Guzman was stabbed 30 times.

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