MANILA (UPDATE) – Police officers behind the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos should go to jail if found guilty of killing the teen in cold blood in an anti-drug raid in Caloocan City last week.
Duterte said he would be “the last person to condemn” the cops, since he is the commander-in-chief of the police and military, but added that the policemen behind the minor’s death should be sent to jail if they are found guilty of "rubout".
“I would be the last person to condemn them without a valid investigation. Better kung talagang 'rubout', kung ganoon maasahan niyo, they have to answer for it, they have to go to jail,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.
Duterte added he has opted to not speak too much about Delos Santos’ death, noting that the Department of Justice has yet to finish its investigation into the incident.
“The most prudent thing for me to do it so to shut up and wait for the result of investigation,” he said.
“I saw the tapes sa TV and I agree that there should be an investigation. Should the investigation point to liabilities by one, two or all, there will be a prosecution and they have to go to jail if convicted.”
Duterte was referring to the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage which allegedly shows the cops manhandling Delos Santos moments before he was killed and found dead in the spot where he was supposedly brought.
Witnesses have reportedly said that before Delos Santos was shot dead, the police gave him a gun and told him to run for his life.
The supposedly incriminating evidence against the cops have triggered public outrage against the government and its controversial war on drugs.
Duterte said after he saw the CCTV footage of Delos Santos’ supposed manhandling, he ordered Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to arrest the cops involved.
The President, however, said he would not make conclusions or observations “beyond” what he saw in the footage.
KIAN SHOT WHILE ON THE GROUND?
Another major development in Delos Santos’ case is the autopsy findings of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory on the remains of the slain teenage boy.
According to Dr. Erwin Erfe, chief of the PAO Forensic Laboratory, the location of the gunshot wounds to his ears also showed that the minor was already on the ground when he was shot.
There were also no indications that Delos Santos fought back, except for a wound on his stomach.
Duterte said he has been clear on his instruction to the police to only shoot back if they are met with “violent resistance.”
“Pero ‘yung arestado na, nakaupo na diyan, barilin mo, that’s another thing. That is… That would be murder or homicide,” the President said.
KIAN A DRUG RUNNER?
PNP chief Dela Rosa earlier claimed that "raw intelligence information" showed that Delos Santos was a drug courier for his father and uncle, an allegation that the boy’s family vehemently denied. The PNP even presented a witness, Renato “Nono” Loveras, who allegedly did transactions with the boy.
Dela Rosa, nonetheless, said Delos Santos should not have died in the operation even if he indeed had links to the drug trade.
The President, meanwhile, said intelligence information do not necessarily have probative value.
“You cannot use it in court or to the people. Those are just information gathered by the police or military. It is an internal thing,” he told reporters after the news conference.
“Hindi mo masabi itong intel na ito, maya maya mali iyan.”
Supporters of the administration, led by Caloocan City Assistant Prosecutor Darwin Cañete, are also now questioning whether it was indeed Delos Santos who was in the CCTV footage.
The National Police Commission also said that the CCT footage still needs validation.
DUTERTE WON’T VISIT KIAN’S WAKE
Delos Santos was among the scores of individuals killed in anti-drug sweeps in Bulacan, Manila, and Camanava area last week, considered the deadliest since President Rodrigo Duterte took office.
The Department of Justice and Commission on Human Rights have launched their respective investigations into Delos Santos’ killing. The Senate, dominated by the President’s allies, is also expected to hold a probe into the boy’s death and the way the government’s war on drugs is being carried out.
High-profile politicians have been visiting Delos Santos’ wake, but the President ruled out following suit, saying it may not be appropriate as he is the top boss of the police force which is now under fire.
“It is pregnant with so many suppositions. One is that, ‘Look, Duterte went there maybe to apologize kasi totoo ‘yung talagang nangyari,’” Duterte said.
“Then, I would be putting so much pressure on the police. Mataranta na sila niyan kasi ganun. ‘Kaya o --- siguro nanghingi ng tawad si Duterte.’”
Delos Santos’ death has sparked public outrage and calls for the government to stop its war on drugs, which human rights groups say have already claimed as high as 12,000 lives, a figure that the government publicly disputes.
Reacting to the public protests held on Monday over Delos Santos’ death, Duterte said he was not bothered.
“Let’s have an upheaval. But since I am in government, magkalaban talaga tayo… You want to war against government? Go ahead,” he said.
“I am encouraging you to take to the streets. Everybody. Sino ‘yung may gusto ng… Ano ‘yun? Himagsikan, sige. Himagsikan is uprising. If you want that, go ahead. You have my blessing. Nobody will stop you in the streets.”