MANILA- The death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos in a police operation is a challenge to law enforcers to be cautious against "reckless" exercise of power, a Malacañang official said Saturday.
"This deeply regrettable incident has triggered deep public sentiment, and challenges those in law enforcement to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority," Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abella also clarified that the "violent" death of any Filipino is "one death too many," as he assured President Rodrigo Duterte's commitment to probe the incident.
"...The President, who continues to vigorously pursue the dismantling of drug apparatus, ensures that erring enforcers will be properly investigated," he said.
"The task of building a nation worthy of all demands participation of all citizens, and this incident challenges the nation to be more vigilant," he added.
Delos Santos, a grade 11 student, was killed in an anti-illegal drug raid in Caloocan City last Wednesday after police claimed that the teen attempted to shoot authorities, prompting cops to fire back.
However, a CCTV footage showed 2 cops accompanying the teen to the spot where the latter was killed. A witness also said that the police beat up Kian and gave him a gun before he was told to run for his life.
The cops involved in the incident have been relieved from their posts as Metro Manila police chief, Director Oscar Albayalde vowed an impartial investigation into the incident that stirred public outrage.
In earlier statements, Duterte has repeatedly promised to pardon cops carrying out his orders to crush the illegal drug trade.
"Sabi ko sa lahat ng pulis, do not lie to me. Babarilin ko talaga. Mag-trabaho kayo, huwag kayong mag-imbento. Do not fabricate evidence," Duterte said.
"I will hear you and if you're telling the truth, sabihin mo ako, utos ni Mayor."
Citing a provision in the Constitution regarding the President's power to pardon, Duterte said he will absolve law enforcers who would be penalized for anti-narcotics efforts.