Duterte condoles with family of slain 17-yr-old
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory said on Wednesday senior high school student Kian Loyd de los Santos tested negative for gunpowder residue, belying earlier claims by Caloocan City police that the 17-year-old fired at authorities in a drug raid that claimed his life.
Paraffin tests conducted on de los Santos showed an absence of gunpowder residue on his hands, officials said.
“Both hands of the cadaver do not contain gunpowder nitrates,” stated a report by the crime laboratory.
Jane Monzon, PNP medico-legal officer, contested claims by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) that Kian was shot thrice in last week’s raid at Barangay 160 in Caloocan.
“There are two gunshot wounds in the head, one in the ear, and one in the back of the ear. Both went out. The entry was on the left. The exit was on the right,” said Monzon in a news conference.
“The first gunshot wound was slightly downward. The second was also downward,” Monzon said on the trajectory of the bullets.
She said the teen’s body had been embalmed when the PNP Crime Laboratory conducted an autopsy.
“Kian was already embalmed. We did not get his urine sample,” she said.
Monzon said it was “impossible” for de los Santos to have been executed because there was no “stifling” in his body, which would indicate that he was shot in this manner.
Citing a report by Jocelyn Cruz, another medico-legal officer of the PNP, Monzon said Kian was shot twice both on the head.
“He was shot in the left ear then it came out in the right,” Monzon said, refuting the PAO’s findings that de los Santos was shot twice in the left and right ear.
Monzon also said de los Santos was shot from “afar,” with the distance between the top of the barrel of the gun and de los Santos’ body being “more than 60 centimeters,” equivalent to two rulers.
Monzon said this was no longer “close range.”
Condolences from the President
On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his condolences to the family of de los Santos.
In remarks before the Philippine Air Force Dragon Boat Team at Malacañang, Duterte admitted there could be “mistakes” when policemen carry out legitimate operations against drug personalities.
He reiterated, however, that errant policemen would have to “face consequences,” if there was really foul play in the anti-drug operations, particularly in the arrest of de los Santos that resulted in his death.
“We can commit mistakes. That’s why there are so many incidents. This thing about drugs, there’s a ruckus now on de los Santos,” Duterte said.
“I have expressed my condolences. Kung tanggapin ng pamilya, good. Kung hindi nila tanggapin, fine with me (If the family accepts it, good. If they don’t accept it, fine with me),” he added.
Duterte reiterated his decision not to go to Kian’s wake.
“The thing is, I will not go there. Because even if it is true, it is under investigation. Because if I go there, I put down the police,” the President said.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella assured United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim that there would be a full and impartial investigation into de los Santos’ killing.
Abella made the assurance again after Kim took to Twitter to call for “full accountability” over the police drug operations that have led to the deaths of alleged drug suspects, including de los Santos.
“My condolences go out to the family and friends of Kian. Hope that the investigations lead to full accountability,” Kim said on a Twitter post.
Three witnesses, two of them minors, are ready to testify in court or face a legislative inquiry to prove that delos Santos was killed by Caloocan City policemen, according to Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
The witnesses have been under her custody since Saturday.
“They are now ready with their signed affidavits which will be used to file cases. We will bring them today to the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital and they will meet representatives from the Public Attorney’s Office, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Commission on Human Rights to get their additional testimonies,” Hontiveros said.
She said the witnesses, who are “very afraid” and suffering from deep trauma. will appear before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson today.
RJ CARBONELL AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE