THE Office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction to also investigate the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd de los Santos by Caloocan City police, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Sunday.
Drilon made the suggestion amid controversy over statements by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd in favor of the policemen during a Senate inquiry last week.
“Hindi ko sinasabi na sila po ay biased, kung hindi ang tingin ng taumbayan ay sila po ay pumoprotekta sa mga pulis (I am not saying that they are biased, but from the point of view of the public they are protecting the policemen). That is the public’s perception,” Drilon said in a radio interview over radio station dzBB.
Malacañang on Saturday urged the public to trust the justice system under President Rodrigo Duterte following the filing of criminal charges against the policemen involved de los Santos’ killing.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte would not let abusive police officers go off the hook despite his promise to protect and defend law enforcers fighting his drug war.
Drilon agreed that there should be public trust in the justice system, but claimed there were doubts on the impartiality of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Aguirre, as shown by previous actions.
The lawmaker cited the case of slain Albuera City Mayor Rolando Espinosa involving members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas, led by Supt. Marvin Marcos.
Marcos and his men were initially charged with murder but the DOJ downgraded the charges to homicide despite an earlier statement by Aguirre that Espinosa’s killing was premeditated.
“It’s because of the past incidents you cannot help but doubt the impartiality of the DOJ, and PAO (Public Attorney’s Office) is part of the DOJ,” Drilon said.
Murder and torture charges have been filed before the DOJ against policemen involved in the Caloocan operation that killed de los Santos, by the teen’s parents.
De los Santos’ parents, Saldy and Lorenza, received assistance from the head of PAO, Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda Acosta.
Facing a criminal complaint for murder and torture leading to the death of a child are Caloocan City Police Community Precinct 7 head Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, Police Officer (PO) 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremiah Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said the issue should transcend politics, and the best way to give justice to the victim is to make sure that the incident won’t happen again to any minor.
“I am hoping that Kian’s death will not be used by certain politicians or groups to advance their own political interests,” he said.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier warned the de los Santos family and witnesses against some personalities supposedly riding on the issue and blaming the killing on the President.