MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday blasted the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos in an anti-illegal drug raid last week, calling for police accountability if irregularity is proven.
"Whether or not he was involved in the use or trafficking of illegal drugs, he did not deserve to die in the manner that he did," Lorenzana said in a statement.
Delos Santos, an 11th grader, was killed in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City on Aug. 16 after he allegedly shot at pursuing officers, which prompted them to fire back.
Surveillance footage, however, showed 2 officers dragging Delos Santos to the spot where the boy was killed. A witness also alleged that the police beat up the victim, gave him a gun by force, and told Delos Santos to run for his life.
The killing has been decried as a summary execution.
PNP chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa earlier claimed that "raw intelligence information" showed that Delos Santos was a drug courier for his father and uncle, an allegation that the boy’s family had denied.
Lorenzana said those involved in Delos Santos' slay should be held responsible if it is proven that the boy was executed.
"We must allow the investigation into this incident to take its full and proper course. If the allegations of foul play are proven, then the perpetrators must be brought to justice. They must be made to account for what they have done," he said.
The defense chief also called for calm amid public outrage over the incident.
"Huwag po tayong magpadalus-dalos sa paghusga base sa espekulasyon lamang. Mas makatutulong po tayo kung hihintayin na lamang natin ang resulta ng imbestigasyon," he said.
Lorenzana is the latest cabinet official to condemn the teen's death.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier decried Delos Santos' killing and has spoken with President Rodrigo Duterte about the incident.
"Maski sino, maski ano'ng kasalanan, hindi ganoon ang paraan ng pagtrato ng bata," Briones said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said police officers linked to Delos Santos' death should be jailed if found guilty of committing a 'rubout."
Several lawmakers have called for an investigation into Delos Santos' death and the fresh spate of killings in overnight anti-drug operations last week.