MANILA - A key witness confronted one of the policemen accused of killing Kian Delos Santos shortly after the 17-year-old drug suspect was found dead at the end of a dark alley in Caloocan City.
"Bakit niyo pinatay yung bata?" the witness, a certain Choleng, said in an affidavit included in the murder case filed against the police officers.
(Why did you kill the boy?)
The policeman, later identified as PO1 Jeremias Pereda, claimed the 11th Grader fought back ("nanlaban"), the witness recalled.
"Sana hindi ninyo pinatay, dapat ikinulong na lang ninyo yung bata," she told Pereda.
(You shouldn't have killed him. You should jail him instead.)
The witness said she saw the policemen dragging the boy, shortly after they went looking for him inside his house.
"Hindi pa sila nakakalayo nang makita ko na bitbit na ng mga pulis si Kian. Nakaipit ang leeg ni Kian sa braso ng isang pulis. Dinala nila si Kian sa direksyon ng 'lower' basketball court ng aming barangay," she said.
(They hadn't gotten too far when I saw police carrying Kian. One policeman was holding Kian's neck with his arms. They brought Kian to the lower basketball court of our village.)
Last week, PO1 Jerwin Cruz told a Senate investigation he and Pereda were indeed the ones seen in a CCTV footage dragging a third man.
But Cruz claimed they were with their police "asset" and not Delos Santos.
Persida Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney's Office, described Choleng as "very credible" and her statement put the accused policemen on the "defensive."
Kian's mother Lorenza told ANC 2 more witnesses had approached her during her wake, saying they saw policemen dragging away her son shortly before he was killed.
She said they were willing to testify.
"'Ate, kilala namin yung mga pulis at si Kian yung kinakaladkad. Kaso yung time na yun, tinakot kami ng mga pulis na wag kayo magsasalita,'" she quoted them as saying.
(We know the policemen and they were dragging Kian. But that time, they threatened us saying we should not talk.)