On 13 March 2023, Navotas Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 287 found police officer Jefrey Sumbo Perez guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, for the murders of Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, 14, under the previous administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Navotas RTC convicted Perez to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment of up to 40 years, for each of the killings. Perez was also ordered to pay the victims’ families for civil indemnity, as well actual, moral, and exemplary damages he has caused.
Noting the grave nature of extrajudicial killings and abuse of power, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the recent conviction against the erring police officer and sees it as a triumph of the rule of law.
It can be recalled that CHR, in a previous statement, also commended a verdict by the Caloocan RTC, which found Perez guilty of torture and planting of firearm against the victims. In the same statement, CHR noted its Resolution following the complaint filed by Carl’s mother, Eva Magat Arnaiz, to the independent national human rights institution in 2017. The CHR Resolution found that “a human rights violation, by means of arbitrary deprivation of lives, was indeed perpetrated by the police.”
CHR stresses that, as duty bearers, much is expected from the government and its agents. Their failure to fulfill their obligations and social contract with the people to uphold and protect the fundamental rights of citizens undermines the trust between communities and law enforcement. We expect the State and its agents to uphold the highest ethical and moral standards in service, including transparency and a strong sense of accountability for instances of human rights violations.
The Commission once again urges the government to conduct a thorough investigation of all cases of alleged human rights violations related to the anti-illegal drug campaign. In 2022, CHR has released its own findings and forwarded its recommendations to the government through the CHR Report on Investigated Killings in Relation to the Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign. CHR hopes that the government acts on the recommendations in good faith in the interest of preserving the integrity of the justice system and ensuring accountability for the violations committed.
CHR remains open and ready to support the government, particularly law enforcement agencies, in improving the protection and promotion of human rights through their mandates. We continue to urge the government to proactively act on the pending allegations of human rights violations so that cases like that of Carl and Kulot reach the courts and meet the ends of justice.
 Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the ruling of the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court regarding the killings of teenagers Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman under the anti-illegal drugs campaign. 26 November 2023. http://bit.ly/3XwG5L8
 Report on Investigated Killings in Relation to the Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign (EJK Report). May 2022. https://chr.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/CHR-National-Report-April-2022-Full-Final.pdf
Discussion about this post