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THE KIAN DELOS SANTOS CASE


With CCTV footage that belied policemen's claims that he shot them and resisted arrest, and an eyewitness who said he told officers that he had exams the following day, the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos gave face to the yet-to-be-determined number of innocents who could have fallen to the Duterte government's ongoing war on drugs.

After the three policemen who arrested him were convicted of murder and sentenced to up to 40 years in prison, look back at his family's quest for justice and the public outrage that had a PNP chief admitting overkill and Malacañang clarifying the government's policy in its anti-drug campaign.



TEXT BY JESSICA BARTOLOME
DESIGN BY JANNIELYN ANN BIGTAS
NOVEMBER 29, 2018

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AUGUST 16, 2017

17-YEAR OLD KILLED IN POLICE RAID

Kian delos Santos was shot to death during an Oplan Galugad operation in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Police claimed that Kian shot at them, forcing them to fire back. Recovered from Kian were a caliber .45 gun and two sachets of suspected shabu. His relatives said that neither belonged to him.

AUGUST 18, 2017

CCTV FOOTAGE BELIES POLICE ACCOUNT

Kian's family, girlfriend, classmates, and teacher mourned his death and called for justice. Kian's mother, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in the Middle East, returned to a painful homecoming. His father wondered how he could carry a gun when he was just wearing boxers when he was killed.

CCTV footage surfaced showing Kian being carried away by cops, contrary to their claim that Kian resisted and tried to flee. A person who claimed to have witnessed the killing said Kian was on the floor begging for his life before a series of gunshots. Kian would later test negative for gunpowder nitrates.

Amid the public outcry, the three Caloocan cops involved in the killing of Kian were removed from their posts. Caloocan chief of police Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna and Northern Police District (NPD) director Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo were also relieved.

Two days after Kian's death, CCTV footage surfaced on August 18, 2017 belying cops' accounts that he resisted and tried to fllee.

AUGUST 21, 2017

DUTERTE: INCIDENT MUST BE INVESTIGATED

The public took to the streets to demand justice for the death of Kian. More than a hundred marched to the site where the 12th grader was found dead, while hundreds more protested at the People Power Monument despite inclement weather.

After seeing the CCTV footage, Duterte agreed the incident must be investigated. "Should the investigation point to liabilities by one, two, or all, there will be a prosecution and they have to go to jail if convicted," Duterte said.

AUGUST 22, 2017

US ENVOY CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

US Ambassador Sung Kim joined the chorus expressing sympathies for Kian's family and friends, and said that he hoped "the investigations lead to full accountability."

AUGUST 24, 2017

SENATE BEGINS PROBE ON KIAN'S DEATH

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs began its probe, days after majority bloc senators signed a resolution condemning Kian's death and other "abuses by the police" in carrying out the war on drugs.

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PO1 Jeremias Pereda, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO3 Arnel Oares of the Caloocan City Police testify on August 24, 2017 at a Senate inquiry into the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos. Cesar Tomambo

AUGUST 24, 2017

CONFIRMED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, the Caloocan chief of police at the time of Kian's death, told the Senate inquiry that the police confirmed Kian involvement in the drugs trade through the social media. "'Yun lang po ang basis namin," Bersaluna said.

Assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the Delos Santos family lodged complaints for murder and torture of a minor leading to death against Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz.

Their supervisor, precinct commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, was included in the complaint for murder.

Days later, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also filed complaints for murder, violation of domicile, and planting of evidence against the four cops.

AUGUST 25, 2017

HUNDREDS MARCH AS KIAN LAID TO REST

It took more than five hours before the Kian's remains were buried in an apartment-type crypt as hundreds of people joined the funeral procession.

The march momentarily stopped in front of the Caloocan City Police Community Precinct (PCP) 7, where the three policemen involved in his death were assigned.

During the day of his funeral, #PaalamKian trended online.

Hundreds of people joined the funeral procession for Kian delos Santos on August 25, 2017.

AUGUST 28, 2017

DUTERTE MEETS WITH KIAN'S PARENTS

Duterte met Kian's parents, Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos, in Malacañang Park.

Afterwards, Kian's mom said that Duterte promised that the case would be resolved as quickly as possible.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

RAPS VS. COPS IN KIAN SLAY

The Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service said it has found probable cause to file administrative cases against 16 members of the Caloocan City Police allegedly involved in the killing of Kian based on circumstantial evidence. Among those charged are the four cops implicated in the teenager's death.

Meanwhile, government prosecutors set hearings for the preliminary investigation of the criminal case on September 12 and 19. Then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had said the complaints forwarded by the PAO and NBI would be consolidated for the purpose of preliminary investigation.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) also filed criminal and administrative charges against the policemen directly involved in the killing of Kian before the Office of the Ombudsman. The policemen were named respondents in the complaints of murder, violation of domicile, planting of evidence, violation of the rights of a person arrested, and violation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

BATO ADMITS 'OVERKILL'

At the resumption of the Senate inquiry on Kian's death, the chairman of the barangay where he lived confirmed that the student was not included in the drug watch list and had no derogatory record in their area. Barangay 160 chair Helica Joyce Macalinao said that Kian didn't have record of offences in barangay documents and the local Social Welfare and Development office.

Then PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa admitted that based on forensic reports, there was an overkill in the police operation that led to Kian's death. He assured that the abuses committed by police officers will not be tolerated.

The policemen involved in the killing of Kian refused to answer questions raised by Senator Risa Hontiveros during the inquiry.

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Duterte has a meeting with the parents of Kian delos Santos, Saldy and Lorenza, on August 28, 2017. 

OCTOBER 10, 2017

12 MORE CALOOCAN COPS CHARGED

Eleven more Caloocan City policemen showed up at the DOJ to face the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaints involving Kian's death.

The twelfth respondent failed to appear because his name was not included in the subpoena sent out by the DOJ.

Eleven of the 12 additional policemen would later ask the DOJ to dismiss the charges against them. They said the complainants and spouses Saldy and Lorenza, through the PAO, should prove that there is conspiracy among all the 16 respondents in the murder and torture complaints.

NOVEMBER 14, 2017

FIRE HITS CALOOCAN POLICE HQ

The case files on the killings of Kian, as well as those of Carl Angelo Arnaiz, “most likely” burned up in the blaze.

Caloocan police chief Senior Superintendent Jemar Modequillo, however, assured that files related to the killings have copies at the Northern Police District and at the National Capital Region Police Office.

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Caloocan City policemen PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO1 Jeremias Pereda testify on September 5, 2017 at a Senate inquiry into the death of Kian delos Santos. Benjie Castro

JANUARY 29, 2018

DOJ FILES MURDER RAPS

The DOJ filed consolidated charges against policemen Oares, Pereda, and Cruz, as well as Renato Loveras, the police who claimed Delos Santos was a drug runner.

They were charged for murder and planting of evidence under Section 29 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Section 38 of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

FEBRUARY 7, 2018

WARRANTS OUT

A local court issued warrants of arrest against Oares, Pereda, and Cruz, as well as Loveras, for non-bailable charges of murder and planting of evidence or firearms in connection with Kian's killing.

JUNE 4, 2018

PNP EXEC SACKED OVER KIAN SLAY TAPPED TO LEAD HIGHWAY PATROL GROUP

Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo was appointed chief of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, less than a year after he was relieved from his post as head of the Northern Police District over the widely condemned killing of Kian.

Family and friends marked first anniversary of Kian delos Santos' death with candles, prayers.

AUGUST 16, 2018

1ST ANNIVERSARY OF KIAN'S KILLING

Kian's relatives and friends visited the sites where he was taken by the police and where his body was found during the first anniversary of his death. They lit candles and offered prayers, and renewed their call for justice.

Malacañang said that the killing of Kian was significant because it led to the "President’s clarification on his official pronouncement on the drug war: He will support the police if the killing is legal, he will prosecute the police if the killing is illegal."

Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution seeking to declare every 16th of August as a "National Day of Remembrance" for all the victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte government's war on drugs in commemoration of Kian.

NOVEMBER 29, 2018

COURT CONVICTS CALOOCAN COPS

A Caloocan City court found the three policemen, Oares, Pereda, and Cruz guilty for murder.They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua “without eligibility of parole” and ordered to pay Delos Santos’ family for damages. The case against Loveras was ordered archived pending his arrest. The judge directed the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest against him.

Judge Rodolfo Azucena acknowledged the dangers faced by law enforcers in the war against drugs but indicated that unwarranted violence and deaths were criminal.

"A shoot first, think later attitude can never be countenanced in a civilized society. Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement," Azucena said."The public peace is never predicated on the cost of human life."

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Policemen escort the three Caloocan City cops who were found guilty for murder over the death of Kian delos Santos on November 29, 2018. In a decision promulgated Judge Rodolfo Azucena convicted PO3 Arnel Oares and PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and Jerwin Cruz of the crimes of murder. But the court acquitted the cops on the planting of evidence charge. Gerard Carreon