MANILA - A minor who witnessed the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos should be under government custody, instead of the Church, Malacañang said Sunday.
The 13-year-old witness and 2 other minors insisted on staying with the Diocese of Caloocan even after the teenager's father, who was accompanied by police, tried to fetch her late Saturday.
The father later had a change of heart and decided to stay at the Diocese office with his daughter, ending a 2-hour standoff.
"Lahat ng mga testigo sa mga kaso, dapat talaga ang kanilang pupuntahan, kung mayroon mang witness protection program, ay ang gobyerno," Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told DZMM.
(All witnesses, if they are under the witness protection program, should go to the government.)
"We understand na ang Simbahan, of course, is the holy refuge of every church member and even those who are not church members. Pero ang sinusunod lang po ng ating DOJ, ay ang batas, ang proseso."
(We understand that the Church, of course, is the holy refuge of every church member and even those who are not church members. But our Department of Justice is merely upholding the law and due process.)
Andanar did not say whether the government would seek custody of the witness again.
Delos Santos was killed in an alleged shootout with anti-narcotics policemen last August.
The 13-year-old witness was among those called to the Senate to testify that Delos Santos was mauled by the officers, given a gun and told to run for his life.