MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/07 August) — It took but a few days after the death of Kian Loyd delos Santos when some members of the Caloocan City police figured in yet another controversy — the killing of former UP Diliman student Carl Angelo Arnaiz. So far, the results of forensic examination and other facts gathered by government investigators suggest that the suspected policemen murdered him. The suspects countered that the youngster tried to hold up a taxi driver and was killed in the shootout that ensued.
Three things work against the policemen implicated in Carl’s case. One is their image problem — it was colleagues of theirs who stand accused in the killing of Kian. Second, Carl’s background, not to mention his boyish appeal, doesn’t fit into the usual profile of people who would even entertain the idea of staging armed robberies. Third, they backed their claims of a holdup with two contradictory affidavits by the supposed taxi driver who has yet to present himself in public.
By the way, death extinguishes a person’s criminal liability. And, even if it were true that Carl tried to hold up that taxi driver, it could not justify his apparent murder as the investigation has so far shown. This holds true in the case of Carl. This holds true in other cases because the law says so, because decency and civility says so.
At the heart of the issue, therefore, is what the public perceives to be an increasing lust of law enforcers, the police in particular, for blood as a measure of efficiency. Are they emboldened by hints at impunity, that they may resort to shortcuts, if only to keep the crime rate down? Do they find assurance in the fact that thousands — some would say 16 million — on social media are also crying for blood? (Ah, was it from Facebook that police said they got information that Kian was involved in illegal drug trade? The primary source of fake news now also a source of fake intel?)
No official in his right mind would admit that resorting to extrajudicial killings as policy does exist. Yet you don’t need tacit statements to prove what everybody knows but is afraid to speak about. You don’t need to cry either before the Senate to refute that.
The body count is real. Kian is real. Carl is real. Or both were, until the Grim Reaper dressed in blue sent them to eternal rest. The soundbites on media that either amuse, enrage or entertain us are real. For while the person who utters those soundbites may sound incoherent in many aspects, he is consistent in egging on the law enforcers to go for broke in dealing with suspected criminals.
Meanwhile, news broke out last night that another boy who was with Carl was found dead in Nueva Ecija. The body of Reynaldo de Guzman alias Kulot bore some 30 stab wounds and his head was wrapped in masking tape. His parents believe he was killed so he could not testify on Carl’s death. This isn’t fake news. Kulot, 14, the victim, is real. Or was real.
By the way, what happened to the investigation on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China? Sometimes the dead can distract us from the affairs of the living. Except that how these boys died — or were killed — will haunt, should haunt, us the living. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)