MANILA – There is a “twist” in the controversial killing of teen Kian Loyd Delos Santos, President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday.
Duterte said the truth behind the Delos Santos case would come out once the trial of police officers tagged in his killing begins.
The teen's killing in an anti-drug sweep in August had triggered public outrage that some believe hurt the chief executive’s popularity.
“Iyung kay Kian na estudyante, you will know the truth, at least the version of the police, kapag mag-umpisa na ang trial, but it will not excuse or justify killing a person whose hands are raised, ready to surrender or kneeling down because that is really murder,” Duterte said in a speech in Manila.
“Pero may twist diyan…you just wait,” he added.
Duterte did not elaborate, but in recent speeches, he has hinted that those surrounding Delos Santos were indeed involved in the illegal drug trade.
In a speech on Oct. 19 in Manila, Duterte said: “Now, sabihin ko ‘yung kay Kian, the minor? I’m not trying to attribute this to anybody, but let me ask you, let me ask you one question: Why is it that in every arrest, during the night, there is always a minor and a person of age? Why? Because this is the courier, this is the runner.”
Delos Santos’ father and uncles had been tagged in the illegal drug trade and had allegedly used the teen as a courier. They denied this allegation.
The senior high school student was killed in a police raid in Caloocan City on Aug. 16. Operatives say he shot at officers to resist arrest, but witness statements and evidence suggest he may have been executed.
A CCTV footage showed that two cops in civilian clothes accosted the minor towards the direction where he was killed. Witnesses said they saw the cops hand the teen a gun and then told him to run.
Autopsy results, meanwhile, showed that the boy was shot in the head while he was already kneeling.
Police figures showed that some 3,800 drug suspects were slain during the time it led the anti-drug campaign. Duterte recently ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to take the lead in the drug war.
The administration has repeatedly denied involvement in summary killings.