By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte assured the parents of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos that justice would prevail after police allegedly deliberately killed the teenager this month.
Duterte made the assurance after Duterte had a closed-door meeting with Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos at around 1 p.m. upon the request of the parents of the slain Grade 11 student.
Also present during the said meeting were Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Public Attorneys Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta, and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez.
According to Acosta, Duterte assured the couple that justice would prevail as investigation on Kian’s death is now ongoing.
Aguirre, on the other hand, said the almost two-hour meeting went smoothly and all the concerns of the parents, like their security, was addressed by the President.
Kian’s parents also asked the President for financial assistance so they could start their own business because Lorenza only earns P18,000 by working as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia.
Aguirre said Duterte meanwhile explained that he chose not to attend the wake of the slain student as it would seem like he is already admitting that it was the fault of the police even if investigation is still ongoing.
Kian, who was laid to rest on Saturday, was allegedly manhandled and killed by members of the Caloocan City Police during the conduct of Oplan Galugad on August 16.
The Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation are now investigating the case after a police report claimed that Kian resisted arrest and fired at the lawmen first. However, a CCTV footage showed he was being dragged by police to where he was eventually found dead. Witnesses also gave statements supporting the CCTV footage.
For the first few days after Kian’s death, Duterte refused to comment on the issue publicly but said he ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ronald dela Rosa to detain the three policemen involved for murder.
While he agrees that there should be an investigation on the matter, Duterte did not visit the wake of the slain teenager unlike other politicians like Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Risa Hontiveros and
Bam Aquino, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.
According to Duterte, his visit would have been misinterpreted as an admission that it was the fault of the police already even if the investigation is still ongoing.
“My visit would be pregnant with so many suppositions. It would put so much pressure on the police and be interpreted as saying sorry,” Duterte said.
“I would be the last to condemn the police without investigation,” he added.
Since then, Duterte in his speeches said he would not protect those police who abuse their authority and take advantage of the drug war.
He also has been reminding the police to follow the rules of engagement they learned during their school years.
“Let us be clear on this, I said I will protect those who are doing their duty. I never promised to protect those who are supposedly engaged in doing their duty but committing a crime in the process; abuses cannot be done,” Duterte had said.
Malacañang also said that Kian’s death is a serious matter, contrary to Aguirre’s opinion that the incident was just “blown out of proportion.”
The Palace also earlier said Kian’s death should serve as a reminder to the PNP to follow established policies and operational procedures.
“Kian’s case is a wakeup call for the need to reform government institutions, even law enforcement agencies — a challenge that the President voiced from the beginning of his campaign for the presidency,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella had said.
Tags: Caloocan City Police, Duterte, Duterte meets with Kian's parents, Kian Loyd Delos Santos, Lorenza Delos Santos, Malacañang, Manila Bulletin, Philippine National Police, Public Attorney’s Office, slain student