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 in last week’s killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in Caloocan City.
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.
“Charges have been filed against the policemen involved in the death of Kian de los Santos. The President has reminded our law enforcement officers in numerous occasions that he will not tolerate their wrongdoings or illegal acts, and the filing of a criminal complaint underscores this resolve of the government,” Abella said in a statement read over government-run dzRB radio.
“Let us allow the legal process to run its course, and trust the justice system under the Duterte residency,” he added.
De los Santos was shot dead on August 16 by police officers who claimed the minor, a Grade 11 student who was closing the family-run store for the night, fired at them and resisted arrest.
However, two separate autopsies by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Crime Laboratory of the Philippine National Police’s Northern Police District showed the boy was shot at close range while slumped, with his face down.
De los Santos’ parents Saldy and Lorenza on Friday filed murder and torture charges against policemen involved in the operation: Caloocan City Police Station 7 head Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, Police Officer (PO) 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremiah Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
De los Santos’ death has sparked public outrage against the government’s violent campaign against illegal drugs, which has claimed the lives of thousands of suspected drug criminals.
On Wednesday, Duterte said the killing of de los Santos in a drug operation in Caloocan City was not in the performance of their official duty.
He said police officers involved in the minor’s killing would rot in jail if proven guilty.
“I’m not justifying [the]Caloocan [incident]. That is really bad,” the President said.