The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday acknowledged the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 122's conviction of police officer Jeffrey Perez for torture, planting of evidence and firearm, as well as moral damages against teenagers Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman during the campaign against illegal drugs.
The two teenagers were killed during the height of the drug war in 2017.
CHR cited the 36-page decision released by the Public Attorney’s Office on November 23, 2022 that Perez was found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt for all the crimes charged against him.”
"The court cited forensic evidence which revealed that Carl and Kulot sustained swelling, contusions, and abrasions on different parts of their bodies indicative of physical torture, thereby Perez violating Sections 4 and 14 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 and Section 5(a) of RA 8369 or the Family Courts Act of 1997," CHR said in a statement.
Judge Rodrigo Pascua Jr. also ordered Perez to pay P2 million to each of the victims' families for moral and exemplary damages.
The CHR acknowledged the court’s decision and thanked those who sought justice for the victims and their families.
In 2017, the Commission investigated Karl and Kulot's deaths after receiving a complaint from Carl's mother, Eva Magat Arnaiz. The CHR issued a resolution noting that the police committed a human rights violation using arbitrary deprivation of life.
"Ultimately, the State must ensure the peoples’ rights, and its authority adheres to the rule of law. Intrinsic to that, however, is the need to demonstrate openness, transparency, and cooperation with domestic and international accountability mechanisms to ensure that all human rights violations are addressed duly," CHR added.
CHR had called on the government to undertake a systematic pursuit against impunity by holding accountable all liable officials for possible human rights violations, including protecting witnesses against harassment and intimidation.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it respected the court's decision to convict Perez.
In August 18, 2017, Arnaiz was killed by Caloocan police officers after allegedly robbing a taxi driver.
De Guzman, Arnaiz’s companion, was later found dead with 30 stab wounds on his body in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. His head was wrapped in packaging tape. — DVM, GMA Integrated News