Philippines: Killings of children continue unabated
Responding to the discovery of the body in Gapan City of Reynaldo de Guzman, a 14-year-old boy who had been missing for nearly three weeks, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:
“How many more children must die in the Philippines to end this horrific and heartless violence? Reynaldo de Guzman’s family has had to endure the anxiety of his disappearance followed by the unimaginable grief of discovering his body with stab wounds and his head wrapped in packing tape. This is not an isolated case or a mistake, but the latest atrocity in a wave of unlawful killings that has claimed the lives of more than 50 children and thousands of other Filipinos.
“Extrajudicial executions of people are never justified, and when it comes to killing children this is especially horrific, brutally cutting short budding lives and condemning their families to a lifetime of inconsolable sadness. This case and those of other young people makes it even more urgent that an international level investigation takes place. The world can no longer afford to look away, stay silent, or offer muted expressions of condemnation. The brutality must stop. The victims and their families deserve justice.”
Reynaldo de Guzman, a school boy who was said by his mother to have carried out informal labour to earn extra money, was last seen on 18 August 2017 with 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz. The news of Reynaldo de Guzman’s disappearance emerged when Carl Arnaiz was killed, allegedly in a ‘shootout’ with the police who claimed he attempted to rob a taxi driver.
The mystery of their tragic circumstances is heightened by the fact that their bodies were discovered in two different towns, several hours apart from each other. On Wednesday, local police said that Reynaldo de Guzman’s body was discovered the day before in Gapan city, some two and a half hours outside Manila.
Carl Arnaiz’s body was discovered on 28 August 2017, ten days after he was killed, in Caloocan, a city on the outskirts of Metro Manila. Forensics reports said that Carl Arnaiz had been subjected to torture and shot at close range when he was kneeling or lying down.