PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has assured the parents of slain teenager Kian de los Santos that justice will be served for the death of their son, who was allegedly gunned down by Caloocan City police in an anti-drug raid.
Duterte gave the assurance during a meeting with Kian’s parents, Lorenza and Saldy de los Santos, at Malacañang’s Malago Clubhouse Monday afternoon.
Saldy said they felt more secure after meeting the President.
“Panatag na. Nawala na iyong takot sa buhay namin. Iyon lang po. masaya (We feel secure. We don’t fear for our lives anymore. That’s it. We’re happy),” he said.
According to the Palace, the meeting, which took place over lunch and lasted two hours, was requested by Kian’s parents.
“During their meeting, the President reassured [the parents]that there will be no interference in the case, citing that only due process will prevail and that the handling of the case will be fair,” the Presidential Communications Operations Office said in a statement.
Present at the meeting were Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta, and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption Chairman Dante Jimenez.
In a text message, Acosta said one of Duterte’s assurances to the parents of Kian was that “justice will prevail.”
Palace photos showed Duterte hugging Lorenza. She and her husband were smiling in some of the photos. The couple also did Duterte’s signature “fist bump,” along with Jimenez.
Aguirre, in an interview with dzMM radio, said the de los Santos couple asked for protection, as they felt their lives were under threat.
The Cabinet official said the President explained to them why he did not attend their son’s wake.
According to Aguirre, Duterte said that he, as President, is the commander in chief of the police force and it would be inappropriate for him to attend the wake while the National Bureau of Investigation was conducting a probe into Kian’s killing.
Just hours before the meeting, Duterte told reporters he was inclined to think the police were in the wrong.
“It wasn’t performance of duty,” the President said in a news conference in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The de los Santoses have filed criminal complaints against Caloocan police involved in the August 16 anti-drug operation that left their son dead – Caloocan City Police Community Precinct 7 head Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, Police Officer (PO) 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremiah Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
Two separate autopsies by the Public Attorney’s Office and the Crime Laboratory of the Philippine National Police’s Northern Police District showed the boy was shot at close range while slumped, and with his face down.
De los Santos was laid to rest Saturday at La Loma Cemetery.
Aguirre also defended himself from accusations he was biased toward the police.
“I am not biased in the Kian de Los Santos case. It is farthest from the truth. Any act of murder perpetrated against any Filipino deserves condemnation and I will work to bring the ones responsible for such acts to get the full measure of our penal laws. The allegations of bias hurled against me by some apparently uninformed or ill-motivated persons in the case of Kian de los Santos’ death is so untrue,” Aguirre said.
“As a father and a parent myself, I condemn the killing of Kian de Santos. I condemn the killing in the same way that I condemn the brutal killings, the rape and the dehumanization of infants and children, of grandmothers and grandfathers, of mothers and fathers, of sons and daughters by drug addicts. We cannot call ourselves truly Filipinos when we engage in selective condemnation of the war on drugs,” he added.
In Pampang a, Duterte lashed out at United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard after the latter urged the government to make sure Kian’s death would be “the last” amid the brutal crackdown on illegal drugs in the country.
Speaking to reporters, Duterte said Callamard had no right to tell him how his administration should deal with the drug problem.
“T*** i** niya, sabihin mo. Huwag niya akong takutin. P***** i** niya. G*** pala siya e. Taga-saan ba ‘yang buang na ‘yan? [She’s son of a b****. Tell her, do not threaten me. She’s a son of a b****. She’s stupid. Where does she come from?] What is (her) nationality?” Duterte told reporters.
“Mangyayari nang mangyayari ‘yan. E sa lugar niya nangyayari, g*** ka pala. Kaya nga pinagpuputok-putok doon araw-araw [It will keep on happening. Even in your country, it happens. You are stupid. That’s why your country is being bombed every day],” he added.
Duterte again asked Callamard to come to the Philippines and see the situation for herself.
Callamard, a critic of the drug war, had taken to Twitter to extend her message of condolences to de los Santos’ bereaved family, as well as to all families “victimized” by what she described as a “cruel” drug war under Duterte.
“My heartfelt condolences to #kian family and to all families victimized by this cruel war. #Makehisdeaththelast #Philippines,” she tweeted on Saturday, the day of de los Santos’ interment at La Loma Cemetery.
Last year, the President invited Callamard to visit the Philippines to look into drug-related deaths that have been recorded under his watch.
Callamard, however, did not accept, citing several conditions set by the Duterte administration, such as a public debate.
with JOMAR CANLAS