'Bato' relieves Northern Metro Manila police chief over 11th grader's death

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2017 06:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2017 10:54 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Northern Metro Manila's police chief was relieved from his post Tuesday amid investigation into a teenage boy's controversial death in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City last week.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said Northern Police District (NPD) Director Supt. Roberto Fajardo was relieved pending investigation into the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos. 

"Effective today, administratively relieved 'yung director ng Northern Police District. Administratively relieved muna siya while the investigation is going on," Dela Rosa told radio DZMM.

The relieved official was reassigned to Dela Rosa's office. Chief Supt. Amando Clifton Empiso, Deputy Director for Operations at the National Capital Region Police Office, was assigned to take Fajardo's place. 

Dela Rosa said Fajardo was relieved due to command responsibility. The minor's killing in Caloocan City, which falls under NPD jurisdiction, has been decried as a case of a summary execution.

In a statement, Fajardo claimed he was relieved from his post due to the "heightened, politicized and sensationalized killing" of "pusher" Delos Santos, and will follow the order as "a good soldier and policeman."

"As a good soldier and policeman, I will always follow orders & the wisdom of the CPNP & what is good for the PNP & our beloved country as a whole," he said.

"In my heart I know I have been doing my job, at least I have been relieved na nagtatrabaho to put a stop to illegal drugs and maintain the peace & order in my area," Fajardo said.

"As a good police officer will always look for the good of the service. Faith in God includes faith in his timing," he added.

Fajardo earlier claimed that Delos Santos, an 11th grader, was involved in the illegal drug trade as a "runner" and was a "known drug personality" in Caloocan City.

Caloocan City police chief Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna was also earlier relieved from his post as well as three police officers involved in the shooting.

Police earlier alleged that Delos Santos was killed after he shot at pursuing officers during an anti-drug operation, prompting them to fire back. 

However, surveillance footage that captured the Aug. 16 incident showed 2 officers dragging Delos Santos to the spot where the boy was killed. 

A witness also alleged that the officers beat up the victim, gave him a gun by force, and told Delos Santos to run for his life.

Amid public outrage over the teen's death, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night that policemen behind the slay should be jailed be jailed if found guilty of executing the boy. 

Several lawmakers have called for an inquiry into Delos Santos' death, which has drawn heavy public condemnation. -- with reports from Henry Atuelan and Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News