THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has interviewed six witnesses who will testify that teenager Kian delos Santos was murdered by Caloocan City police that evening of Aug. 16, an official of the bureau said on Thursday.
Romy Lim, head of the NBI death investigation division, said the signed affidavits of these witnesses were enough to corroborate the closed-circuit television footage showing the young de los Santos being dragged by police officers before he was shot dead.
“We have their testimonies already,” Lim said before he proceeded to the Senate hearing on Thursday.
However, Lim disclosed that the parents of the young victim declined the request to have the body of the boy undergo forensic examination to determine how he was killed.
Forensic examination is the term being used by the NBI to describe autopsy.
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) based in Camp Crame have conducted separate autopsies.
Meanwhile, Lim confirmed that the NBI met the three witnesses under the custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros last Wednesday afternoon at the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
Hontiveros presented the three witnesses to NBI investigators, the PAO and the Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday. The senator was adamant about letting go of the witnesses allegedly for fear of their safety.
Meanwhile, PAO head Persida Acosta has announced before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs that criminal charges would be filed Friday against Caloocan City police, particularly the three who escorted the young de los Santos.
They are Police Officer Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz, and PO1 Jeremias Pereda.
At about 8:45 p.m. on Aug. 16, elements of Caloocan City Police conducted one-time, big-time anti-crime operations. The 16 policemen were divided into groups and the group of Oares, Cruz, and Pereda was tasked to operate on Block 7, Rovetside in Barangay 160.
The CCTV footage showed de los Santos being dragged by the policemen. Kian was unarmed and witnesses said the police handed him a .45 caliber pistol and coerced him to run and fire the gun.
The Grade 11 student was found slumped in a corner already dead.
The killing sparked outrage after the CCTV footage went viral on social media, prompting the Internal Affairs Service (IAS), NBI, PAO, and CHR to investigate.
The incident also prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to arrest Oares and his two companions and have them face criminal charges.
“I will protect those who are doing their duty. Not protect those who are committing crime in the process,” the President said, in contrast to his pronouncement in Sept. 2016 when he promised his protection to the police and military regardless of the situation.