FOLLOWING a recent court ruling that found a police officer guilty of torturing two teenagers that resulted in their death in 2017, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta wants the Philippine National Police leadership to issue a marching order against killing a person who’s already kneeling and pleading for mercy.
She laments, however, that such unfortunate incidents continue to occur at present time although she opted not to expound saying there were relatives who’re afraid to come out for fear of their lives.
But she pointed at the case of teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo ‘Kulot’ de Guzman whose arresting lawmen – POI Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita – were both found guilty of planting evidence and torturing them before they died.
She then urged the PNP higher-ups to do something to help erase such bad image of police brutality by coming up with a marching order.
“The PNP must have a marching order that if a person they are arresting who was already kneeling that showed of surrendering must be spared and not shoot and kill him, they must have mercy,” Rueda-Acosta stressed.
But it’d already be a different story if the person being arrested is resisting and threatening the lives of the arresting lawmen.
Caloocan-RTC Branch 122 Judge Rodrigo Pascua Jr. sentenced Perez to two life terms plus ‘reclusion perpetua’ for the duo’s killing which took place at the peak of the anti-drug war of the former administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.
Pascua gave more weight to the testimony of a lone eyewitness, Arnold Perlada, along with the findings of Dr. Erwin Erfe, PAO Forensics Division chief, in convicting Perez of violating the Anti-Torture Act of 2010, and violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for planting of evidence.
Arquilita, however, died during the pendency of the trial of the case which extinguished his criminal liability, the court said.
Both Arnaiz and De Guzman went missing from their residence in Cainta, Rizal and their bodies were found on September 5, 2017 in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija with the former sustaining gunshot wounds while the latter had 30 stab wounds.
The court was convinced by the forensic examination conducted by Erfe on Arnaiz’s body that showed he was kneeling when he was shot several times on the chest, an indication of intentional killing on the part of the accused.