Navotas court finds evidence versus cops in Carl-Kulot slay strong, rejects bid to file demurrer

The Navotas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied the plea of a policeman for permission to file a demurrer in his murder case arising from the killing of teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.

In a recent order, Branch 287 Judge Romana Lindayag del Rosario said the prosecution’s evidence against Patrolman Jeffrey Perez would be strong enough to sustain his conviction if not rebutted.

Hence, the trial should continue so he could present evidence in his defense.

“The court finds that the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution are strong enough to warrant conviction,” the order read.

A demurrer seeks to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution during the trial. If granted, it would lead to the acquittal of the accused even if he did not present evidence in his defense.

In Perez’s case, however, the court said the prosecution was able to establish, for now, the existence of all elements of the crime of murder.

“There is enough evidence available on record to prove the crime of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,” the court said.

Perez’s coaccused Patrolman Ricky Arquilita escaped liability by dying in detention on April 20, 2019, reportedly due to suspected hepatitis.

Arnaiz, a 19-year old University of the Philippines (UP) student, went missing on August 17, 2017, after going out of house in Cainta, Rizal, to buy snacks that night. 10 days later, he was found dead with five gunshot wounds in a morgue in Caloocan City, some distance away.

The body of De Guzman, 14, was later found floating in a creek in faraway Nueva Ecija province, with more than 30 stab wounds and with the head wrapped in a plastic bag and packing tape.

Perez and Arquilita were implicated by a witness who said he saw the two policemen shoot the victims in Navotas City on August 18, 2017.

Arnaiz and De Guzman’s murders came around the same time as that of Kian delos Santos, provoking outrage over the targeting of teenagers by the police under the pretext of a war on drugs.

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