• Palace respects rally for student slain in drug war, says it’s people’s right to assemble, express views


    MALACANANG said it respected the decision of all concerned citizens to stage a rally on Monday to demand justice for Kian Loyd delos Santos, the 17-year-old student killed in anti-drug operations in Caloocan City.

    “The rally for Kian is part of the people’s right to assemble, express their views and air their grievances,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

    Abella reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that anyone could hold a rally provided that the protest was peaceful.

    “The President has said time and again that he will allow mass protest as long as it does not cause public inconvenience or compromise public safety.  This is consistent with PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s) philosophy that criticism – good or bad – is part of the territory of anyone working in the government,” he said.

    “Having said this, we enjoin protesters to fully cooperate with police authorities who are expected to exercise maximum tolerance during the event,” Abella added.

    Several protests are scheduled to be held on Monday to condemn the killing of delos Santos.

    De los Santos was killed on August 16 in an anti-illegal drug operation in Caloocan City. His death has sparked public outrage, prompting calls for an investigation.

    A rally was held at the Plaza Miranda in Quiapo Manila at 9 a.m., organized by the Liberal Party-Youth and supported by other sectors, to denounce the killing.

    The rally also marked the 46th anniversary of the Plaza Miranda bombing, where the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party was attacked during a proclamation rally.

    Groups will also march from Sta. Quiteria Church in Caloocan at 4:30 p.m. to Barangay 160, where de los Santos was gunned down.

    Those who will participate are encouraged to wear black and bring candles. The march is to express support for de los Santos’ family, and the fight for justice for all victims of the government’s drug war.

    The last protest scheduled for the day would be at 6 p.m. at the EDSA People Power Monument. The organizers said the rally “Tama Na! Protesta Laban Sa Patayan,” would call for an end to the bloody war on drugs.

    Organizers asked participants to wear black and bring candles. They also asked those who would join to refrain from bringing organizational posters.

    De los Santos is one of 81 people killed in a number of operations last week to counter crime, drug peddling, and drug use.

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered an investigation on De los Santos’ death.

    De los Santos’ death has fueled criticism of Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed thousands since he took office on June 30, 2016. CATHERINE S. VALENTE



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