Saturday, November 27, 2021

Calls for justice as Kian Loyd Delos Santos laid to rest

MANILA (Updated) -- Kian Loyd Delos Santos, the 17-year-old student who was killed by cops during an anti-drug operation on August 16, was buried Saturday amid calls for justice for victims of extrajudicial killings.

His family, friends, schoolmates, and supporters present at the funeral called for the prosecution of his murderers.

Hundreds joined the funeral procession that took place in the morning, hours before the 11th grader was buried at the La Loma Cemetery.

A burial mass held at the Sta. Quiteria Parish in Caloocan City.

During the mass, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David noted that aside from Delos Santos, at least 12 other minors were killed in the government's crackdown on illegal drugs in Caloocan.

Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, former representative Antonio Tino, Father Robert Reyes and some nuns attended the burial mass.

Acosta assisted the filing of criminal complaints of murder and torture against the Caloocan policemen who shot the teenager and their superior who was administratively relieved.

During the procession, the victim's casket was boarded on top of a multicab utility vehicle and decorated with flowers and white ornaments. The victim's graduation photo was placed beside his casket.

The procession was also joined by militant groups holding large banners and placards bearing words "Justice for Kian!" and chanted their call for justice for Delos Santos and end to extrajudicial killings.

Delos Santos' death has sparked an outcry against the Duterte administration's bloody drug-crackdown.

On August 16, police officers conducted a "one-time-big-time" operation against drug personalities in Barangay 160, Caloocan City, which resulted in the shooting death of Delos Santos.

Delos Santos allegedly pleaded for his life but witnesses said the police officers forced him to hold a gun and told to run before being shot at near close range. A gun and illegal drugs were seized from him.

Investigators said Delos Santos was kneeling with his face down when police officers killed him. He sustained gunshot wounds in the head.

The three policemen said Delos Santos, whom they referred to as a drug couriers, open fired with a gun prompting them to shot him.

The victim's parents who denied their son was involved in drugs filed Friday murder and torture complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Caloocan policemen and their precinct commander.

Named respondents in the cases were Police Office (PO) 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, PO1 Jerwin Cruz, relieved Caloocan precinct commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo and several John Does.

Cerillo and the three police officers have been relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody.

On Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Rodrigo Duterte would not absolve any erring members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from their misconduct.

"The President has reminded our law enforcement officers in numerous occasions that he will not tolerate their wrongdoings or illegal acts, and the filing of a criminal complaint underscores this resolve of the government," Abella said in a statement read over state-run dzRB.

Abella called on the public to allow the proper court to look into the case of the teenager.

"Let us allow the legal process to run its course and trust the justice system under the Duterte presidency," he said.

On Friday, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard tweeted that Delos Santos was murdered as he further urged the President to investigate all unlawful deaths and "stop all murderers".

"Yes, [President] Duterte, this (Delos Santos' case) is murder. All unlawful deaths must be investigated to stop all murderers [in the] Philippines," she said.

Justice Secretary in a Senate probe characterized the death of Delos Santos as "collateral damage," and "isolated incident" and simply "blown out of proportion," earning the ire of some senators. (ABC/Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)
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