MANILA - The family of teenager Kian Delos Santos is still locked in legal battle, the Public Attorney's Office said Thursday, exactly a year after he was killed in a controversial anti-drug sweep.
Police had tagged Delos Santos, a 17-year-old student at a Catholic school, as an alleged drug courier for his father and uncle. The teenager was shot dead by policemen after allegedly resisting arrest in Caloocan before dawn of August 16, 2017.
Surveillance footage, however, showed 2 of 3 policemen involved in the operation dragging a man matching the description of Delos Santos to an alley where he was later found dead. Witnesses also claimed the Grade 12 student was told to run and given a gun.
The officers later admitted at a Senate inquiry that they only learned of Delos Santos' alleged drug links a day after they shot him dead.
The 3 policemen only recently started presenting evidence for their defense before a Caloocan court, PAO chief Persida Acosta told radio DZMM.
The prosecution may rebut the officers' defense before the trial is closed, she said.
Acosta, however, expressed dismay that prosecutors cited the findings of a police autopsy saying Delos Santos was shot only twice and from a distance -- contrary to PAO's autopsy finding that Delos Santos was shot 3 times, twice at point-blank range.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde on Wednesday said policemen involved in the killing of Delos Santos have been dismissed.
He also reiterated the police force's commitment to human rights.
"Palagi naman natin binibigyan ng caution or reminders yung mga commanders on the ground na sumunod sa ating POP (police operational procedure) at respetuhin yung karapatang pantao ng bawat Pilipino," he said.
(We always remind our commanders on the ground to follow our POP and respect the human rights of each Filipino.)
Police said at least 4,200 Filipinos have died in the war on drugs since May 2016 after fighting back against authorities. Rights groups, however, say the death toll is 3 times higher and does not include killings by alleged state-sponsored "vigilantes."