MANILA — Senators on Friday sought for a probe into the death of a student who was killed during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City saying that police officers have gone out of hand.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed that 17-year-old Kian Lloyd Delos Santos fired at them prompting the police to retaliate. However, a CCTV footage from the barangay showed two policemen dragging the victim to the place where he was found dead.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, in a statement, said that he plans to file a resolution to look into the issue involving Delos Santos’ death.
Aquino said that although he supported the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, he urged the government to “rethink” its strategy noting that there are many poor casualties.
“We can see from the footage that he (Delos Santos) never pulled out a gun,” Aquino said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, like Aquino, said that an investigation separate from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and PNP is in order stressing the spate of killings is “reaching alarming levels.”
“I think the Senate needs to look into the recent spate of killings. We need to ensure that we are not creating killing machines,” Angara said in a statement.
He also said that the government should strengthen institutions like the courts, the police, and the prosecutors.
Senator Antonio Trillanes, meanwhile, said that he would request for an all-Senators caucus on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
“I would request for an all-Senators caucus on Tuesday to bring this issue to the fore,” Trillanes said noting that his conscience could no longer let the issues pass.
He said that senators should have a united stand to stop the killings.
“I condemn the killing of 17-year-old Kian Lloyd Delos Santos. In the anti-drug operations conducted by the police in Caloocan City,” Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said noting that the killing was “very, very disturbing.”
Ejercito pointed out that the CCTV footage clearly showed that the teenager was killed.
“The CCTV footage gives a clear picture that Kian Delos Santos was killed. Those policemen should be charged. Nakakagalit panooorin (It makes me angry just watching it),” Ejercito said.
Cops told to be objective
Senator Panfilo Lacson, former PNP chief, said that he would rather wait for initial findings of the DOJ and PNP but said that if a cover up is evident, the Senate should also conduct its own probe.
“I would rather wait for them to come up with their initial findings and if they’re obviously in for a cover up as in the case of Marcos et al, then the senate must exercise its oversight authority and conduct a separate inquiry,” Lacson said, referring to reassigned cop Supt. Marvin Marcos.
Lacson said that he did not want to preempt the investigation of both the DOJ and PNP but reminded them to be “objective” in conducting their probe to save their credibility.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that cops should not be allowed to get away with violating the law otherwise their heads will “swell.”
“They think they can do whatever they want especially to poor people. That’s why these should be investigated immediately and punish those who practice impunity,” Gatchalian said.
Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva demanded accountability for these killings and should not allow police officials to continue committing barbaric acts and abuses.
Senator Loren Legarda, who also supported the drug war, said that it was just as important “to protect children and the citizenry from acts of impunity waged by some police and vigilantes.”
Senator Francis Escudero called the cops “abusive”, “killers”, and “criminals”.
He also expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa would act swiftly on the case.
Senator Richard Gordon reminded President Duterte to “protect the people first before the police.”