MANILA - The Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) said Friday it had expected the officers tagged in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos to recant their admission of being caught on camera while supposedly dragging the teenager before he was killed.
Two of the 3 cops tagged in the shooting had admitted that they were the men shown in a CCTV footage with their arms around Delos Santos shortly before he was shot dead on Aug. 16, PNP-IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo earlier said.
One of the officers, however, told a Senate inquiry on Thursday that it was not Kian seen in the clip, but a police asset.
Triambulo said the cops' earlier admissions were not executed in an affidavit and could not be used as evidence.
"Expected 'yun, alam din kase nila na hindi binding iyun kase 'yung imbestigador, hindi niya in-accord 'yung right ng mga tao na 'yun na 'yung sinasabi ng with the assistance ng counsel para 'yung admission nila maging admissible sa court bilang ebidensiya," Triambulo said.
(It was expected because they know that it was not binding as they were not accorded the right to give their statement with the assistance of their counsel, so it cannot be admissible in court as evidence.)
"Mahina ang impact noon kasi, unang-una, hindi assisted with counsel and reduced in writing. So palagay ko, alam din naman nila 'yon, na hindi reduced in writing para hindi magamit against sa kanila," he added.
(It will have minimal impact because they were not assisted by counsel and [their admission was not] reduced in writing. I assume they know that if they do not reduce it in writing, it cannot be used against them.)
But even without the affidavit, Triambulo said the IAS has an airtight case against the officers, which is enough to recommend a pre-charge investigation.
"Very airtight naman, kahit wala 'yon [affidavit], ang aming findings. Magva-vary later on sa hearing, bibigyan po sila ng rights na magpaliwanag at magsumite ng ebidensiya," he said.
(Our findings are airtight, even without the affidavit. It will just vary later on in the hearing, when they are given the rights to explain and submit evidence.)
PNP-IAS has recommended 14 policemen to undergo pre-charge investigation and ordered them to submit counter-affidavits.
"Papadalhan sila ng notice to submit counter-affidavit, 'yung 10. Sa 4, hindi na-serve kahapon kase sila po ay nasa Senate hearing, ngayon lang mase-serve 'yung sa 4," Triambulo said.
(Ten of the officers were given a notice to submit a counter-affidavit. The notice was not served to the remaining 4 because they were at the Senate hearing. It is just going to be served.)
PNP-IAS' motu-proprio investigation report said a witness saw Kian being held by 2 people in front of a store in Barangay 160, Caloocan City just before he was shot dead.
The report also noted possible violations of police protocol, including the failure of operatives to wear their uniform and handcuff the apprehended male seen in the CCTV clip.
"As of this writing, the issue on whether the cause of death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos was murder or homicide can't be prematurely ruled, considering the absence of a concrete testimonial evidence and a detailed/forensic examination result," the report added.
The PNP-IAS has recommended for pre-charge investigation to be filed against Caloocan police station 7 commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
Investigators also recommended Cerillo to be placed under restrictive custody.
The 11th grader's death has prompted public uproar and renewed criticism against the administration's war on drugs amid witness statements and evidence indicating that the boy was executed.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to hold police officers liable for the boy's death if proven that they had committed a "rubout." He, however, said, the anti-drug campaign would continue.