MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday filed murder charges against policemen involved in the killing of 12th grader Kian Delos Santos in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.
The killing, which Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II himself said "appears illegal," has sparked public outrage and fresh calls to end killings under the administration's war on drugs.
Charged were former Caloocan City Police Station 7 commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo and the three officers directly tagged in the shooting, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
The three police officers have been relieved from their posts and are temporarily under the care of the Metro Manila police headquarters support service in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde earlier said.
Delos Santos, 17, was killed in an anti-drug operation on Aug. 16, with police alleging that he shot at pursuing officers, prompting them to fire back.
A CCTV footage and witness accounts, however, have cast doubt on the officers' version of the events.
Surveillance footage showed two officers dragging Delos Santos to the spot where the boy was killed. Witnesses also alleged that the police beat up the victim, gave him a gun by force, and told Delos Santos to run for his life.
Two of the police officers had admitted that they were the men shown in a CCTV footage with their arms around Delos Santos shortly before he was shot dead.
But Cruz denied this and said it was not Kian they were dragging at the time but a police asset.
Delos Santos was laid to rest on Aug. 26 at the La Loma Cemetery in a ceremony attended by hundreds who called for justice for his death and demanded an end to killings.
The teen's killing has also prompted a Senate inquiry.
President Rodrigo Duterte has promised justice for Delos Santos' death but said his anti-drug campaign would continue. -- Report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News