MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Friday said that the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos was a “wake-up call” to the government but insisted that its war on drugs will continue.
“Kian’s case is a wake-up call for the need to reform government institutions; even law enforcement agencies,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement. “This incident, however, would not deter the Administration from the task of reducing criminality and illegal drugs. The campaign against illegal drugs would continue.”
According to Abella, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a “fair and impartial” investigation on the killing of Delos Santos, adding the President will not tolerate any unlawful act of erring policemen.
“Those found responsible would be held accountable before the law,” he said.
Abella added that the administration hopes this incident would serve as reminder to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure that its personnel are properly guided in the conduct of police operations, particularly in the adherence to the rule of law and due process.
Policemen were also reminded to follow the established PNP policies and operational procedures.
Delos Santos was killed on August 17 by policemen during a drug raid in Caloocan.
According to PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa, Delos Santos was a drug courier for his father and uncles, a claim Delos Santos’ father denied.
A close circuit television (CCTV) footage of the barangay where Delos Santos lived showed two cops dragging a person who witnesses said was Delos Santos.
The initial statement of the police stated that Delos Santos fired shots at cops during a chase, prompting the latter to fire back, killing the teenager.
However, paraffin test conducted by the PNP to the remains of Delos Santos proved otherwise. He tested negative for gunpowder traces, making it impossible for him to have fired shots at the police.
In a senate inquiry yesterday, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda and Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz admitted that they were the two cops seen in the CCTV footage. However, Cruz said that it was not Delos Santos whom they dragged away from the scene but an asset.
Ballistic exam showed that the bullets found in Delos Santos’ remains matched the firearm of Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, police community precinct commander during the time of the raid, told the senate.
Cerillo, Oares, Pereda, and Cruz have been relieved from their positions because of the incident.