MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said the death of a 17-year-old boy during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City was an "isolated" case.
Asked to react on the death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos that has sparked public outrage, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President will not tolerate any abuse committed by policemen. He also described Delos Santos' killing as "isolated."
“I cannot assume on what the President thinks. What I can say is that those who are guilty of breaking the law will have to answer for that,” Abella said in a news conference in Malacañang.
Abella said this even though the President has repeatedly said that he will defend or even pardon cops who are carrying out anti-illegal drug operations.
“He will defend the police in their carrying out of duties. However, he will not tolerate any abuse and any breaches of the law,” Abella said.
Police claimed Delos Santos attempted to shoot anti-narcotics officers, prompting cops to fire back. However, a surveillance footage in the area showed that the minor already surrendered and yet he was still shot.
The footage also showed two cops accompanying Delos Santos to the spot where he was killed while a witness claimed cops beat up Delos Santos and gave him a gun before he was forced to run for his life.
Three members of the Caloocan Police have since been removed from their posts.
Metro Manila police chief, Director Oscar Albayalde vowed that the Philippine National Police will conduct an impartial investigation into the incident.
Delos Santos’ family is now seeking justice for the minor, saying the latter was never involved in the illegal drug trade.
DEFENDING THE DRUG WAR
Earlier this week, Duterte brushed aside questions of irregularities in the recent Bulacan drug raids that claimed the lives of 32 people, saying the drug sweep was in fact “good.”
The Duterte administration has many times defended its drug war against critics, saying reported figures- from 7,000 to 9,000- were overblown.
Latest PNP data show that a total of 3,451 drug personalities were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017.
The PNP has also determined that out of the 12,833 homicide cases from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017, 2,098 deaths were drug-related and 2,535 not drug-related. A total of 8,200 homicide cases were under investigation "with motives to be determined," the PNP said.