PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s top legal adviser has denounced the killing of a 17-year-old boy, in what critics claimed was a murder of a defenseless teenager.
Kian Loyd de los Santos was allegedly killed during an anti-illegal drugs operation last week. Police said de los Santos fired at them but closed-circuit television footage belied such claims.
In a radio interview, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo reiterated that Duterte would not tolerate any police abuses amid his administration’s brutal war on drugs.
“He (Duterte) said, he declared war. Sabi niya ay susuportahan niya iyong mga pulis but napakaklaro ng sinabi niya na (He said he will support the policemen but he said it clear), ‘But those who will abuse their authority will have, held to pay, they will not go unpunished,'” Panelo said.
“Kaya talagang kailangan ma-imbestigahan kung ano talaga ang nangyari. Maraming nagsasabi na drug runner daw iyong iyong bata (That needs to be investigated to know really what happened. There are some claiming the child was a drug runner). But kahit na drug runner iyan (But even he’s just a drug runner), you cannot just kill somebody like that,” he added.
De los Santos was one of at least 80 people killed in simultaneous anti-illegal drug operations by the police in Metro Manila and Bulacan over the past week. The series of incidents marked the deadliest period of Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.
Malacañang said that the boy’s killing was an isolated case.
But Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Saturday that the violent death of any Filipino, especially that of de los Santos, was “one death too many.”
“(I) would like to make it clear that the violent death of any Filipino is one death too many, especially that of Kian Loyd de los Santos,” Abella said.
“The deeply regrettable incident has triggered the public sentiment and challenges to those any law enforcement to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority,” he added.