Suspicious deaths, reasonable doubt

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ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

TODAY, the Senate will open an investigation into the death of Kian Loyd de los Santos. This political theater may only affirm what has already been clearly established by the autopsies conducted.

Without any tint of political bias, blind hatred, or blind idolatry, science has to be heard. And its voice clearly spoke with an immutable force and clarity.

I may not be a forensic pathologist. I do not have any background in law enforcement. But what I have is logic and reason. Unless proven otherwise, what the autopsies reveal are quite damning.

The bullet wounds which Kian sustained revealed it all. In the independent autopsy, he was shot from behind while he was already down on the ground. In both autopsies, including that of the PNP, he sustained head wounds, one behind his left ear, and another inside his left ear. It is plausible that these were meant to finish off Kian. After all, who would survive a bullet from a 9mm firearm entering the left ear and exiting the right side of the head not only once but twice? Not Kian, not anyone.


If it were true that the policemen just fired in self-defense, then Kian should have sustained frontal wounds. And it was established by the PNP autopsy that Kian tested negative for gunpowder residue.

There is reason to believe that Kian may have been summarily executed. The facts that were objectively established, albeit scientifically, may still be interpreted to give a spin that is convenient to whichever side one adheres. One can even try to diminish the independent autopsy by saying that it was requested by the parents, or that it was not conducted by the NBI, or that it was reported first by the Inquirer and therefore may be suspect. But both the PNP and the independent autopsies provide scientific proof.

And it doesn’t even help if we keep insisting that Kian is a drug courier, for this is not the issue. The issue is that there is reason to believe that the apprehending policemen violated the rules of engagement against a drug suspect.

And the contradictory statements from the police authorities are further fanning the clouds of reasonable doubt over their version of the story.

Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, the director of the Northern Police District, as reported by GMA News Online, has admitted that Kian and his father and uncle are not even on the drug watch list of their barangay, or of the police. In fact, Fajardo admitted that Kian, his father and uncle were not even included in the list of subjects of the anti-illegal operation conducted on the night Kian died.

What is even odd is the admission by Fajardo that Kian only became a suspect during the operation, from a very raw intelligence report from someone whom they had apprehended during the same operation, and who was about to make a transaction with Kian, allegedly a known drug courier.

The reason given by Fajardo on what triggered the pursuit is also disturbing. Quoted by GMA News Online, Fajardo said: “Hindi siya sakop ng operation, tumakbo lang siya. The mere fact na tumakbo siya, bakit tumakbo? ‘Yun ang tinitingnan. Bakit natakot,” (He was not part of the operation, but he ran away. The mere fact that he ran away, why did he run away? That is what we are looking at. Why was he afraid.”)

There are many reasons why a young man would run away in the face of a drug operation. Fear of being caught if he is indeed involved? Fear of being mistaken as being involved?

But certainly, it begs any rational mind to ask that if indeed Kian was not on the list of targets, and it was only during the operation that his name surfaced based on information given by someone arrested during the operation, then how could the police establish with any certainty that the boy who ran away was Kian.

After admitting that Kian’s name surfaced only during the operation, Fajardo nevertheless claimed that they had information that he was allegedly selling at least 10 grams of shabu everyday. If Kian’s name surfaced only during the operation, then they would not have possessed specific information about the details of his daily transactions. On the other hand, if they already had in their possession the specifics of his involvement in the drug trade, then his name would have already been known to the police, thereby contradicting the claim that his name only surfaced during the operation.

Doubts are further aggravated by the fact that the police did not even know Kian’s age. Fajardo admitted that they were not aware that Kian was a minor, making it plausible that their intelligence on him was indeed very raw, if not only obtained during the police raid itself, which is one of the claims made by Fajardo himself.

If Kian’s fate was sealed by policemen who were just unfamiliar with the rules of engagement, then it’s about time that the President orders Director General Bato dela Rosa to really intensify his training of the police force. It may even be optimal to create a well-trained, well-equipped elite police force solely for drug operations.

But if his death was because of other reasons more nefarious than ineptness, then the President has to work double time to cleanse the police ranks.

Either way, something has to be done, before suspicious deaths like Kian’s compromise not only the war on drugs, but eventually the political standing of the President.

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