ONE of the slugs that was taken from the body of Grade 11 student Kian de los Santos belonged to one of the guns of three policemen accused of killing the teen based on a ballistic examination of their firearms.
Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, Police Community Precinct 7 commander, said: “Based on the ballistic examination, it was PO3 Oares who has the firearm, matched with the slug found on body of Kian.”
PO3 Oares is Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares who, together with fellow policemen Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz, arrested de los Santos during the “one-time, big-time anti-crime operations” in Caloocan City on Aug. 16.
Cerillo revealed the results of the tests on Thursday during an inquiry by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
The ballistic examination was conducted amid allegations that de los Santos, whom police accused of being a drug courier, was executed based on CCTV footage of the incident and witnesses’ claims.
When asked by Sen. Grace Poe whether he shot de los Santos, Oares declined to answer.
“P’wede po sa susunod na lang po,” he told the committee on the grounds that he did not have a lawyer with him.
This prompted Lacson to say, “This kind of demeanor will affect our view of you.”
Based on the findings of forensic expert, Erwin Erfe, hired by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), and Jocelyn Cruz, PNP medical officer, the victim sustained two gunshot wounds in the head.
Pereda and Cruz declined to identify who killed de los Santos, invoking their right against self-incrimination.
They also claimed that the person in the CCTV (closed circuit television) footage that they were dragging away was not de los Santos but their “alpha” or “asset.”
“Ayaw niya masunog. Pinoprotektahan namin siya. Ayaw niyang malaman nang iba na may kasama siyang pulis. (He does not want to blow his cover. We’re protecting him. He does not want anybody to learn that he was with policemen),” Cruz said when Poe asked him why they were dragging him away.
But barangay officials and some witnesses said it was de los Santos in the CCTV.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa said he has “no order” to intensify the operations against illegal drugs.
“But the operating units were taking the cue. So, we just continue since Day 1 of the administration’s campaign against drugs.”
De la Rosa also expressed support for Poe’s proposal to require policemen to wear body cameras during drug raids.
“I would like to stress that we agree with body cam. It will be beneficial to our operations to justify our actions.”
Lacson opened the inquiry in response to the request by Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th, Risa Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva to investigate the “Kian killing” amid the spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
Aside from police officials, led by de la Rosa, the victim’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza, were at the hearing.