MANILA - Kian Delos Santos had a simple wish from his mother, Lorenza, who was working in Saudi Arabia: a bicycle, like those ridden by his classmates.
He messaged his mother about it one Tuesday night, but vowed he would save up for it.
"Pinost niya yung pictures ng mga kaklase niya na may bike na nagpunta ng Grotto. Sabi niya, ‘Mama, gusto kong bumili nito kaya lang wala akong pera. Pag-iipunan ko na lang,'" recalled Lorenza.
(He posted photos of his classmates riding bicycles going to the Grotto. He said, 'Mama, I want to buy one like this but I don't have money. I will save up for it.)
"Pagtanong ko, magkano ba yan? Sabi niya, ‘Nasa P4,000 lang, Mama.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige, try kong mag-advance sa amo ko…Wait ka ng 10 days, baka pwedeng mag-advance,'" she added in an interview with ANC's Headstart.
(I asked him, how much is that? He said, 'Only about P4,000, Mama.' I told him I'll try to ask for advance pay from my employers...Just wait 10 more days, I might be able to ask for advance pay.)
Lorenza said Kian, who had to walk a long distance from their home to his school, was overjoyed, telling neighbors that his mother would send him money for the bicycle.
But she never expected that her child's plea for a bicycle and her promise to pay for one would be the last words they would exchange.
Last August 16, Kian was killed in an anti-drug police operation after allegedly shooting at authorities.
A CCTV footage, however, caught Delos Santos supposedly being dragged by two cops in plain clothes towards the place where he was killed.
Police had alleged that Kian was a drug courier for his father and uncles, but officers told a Senate inquiry that they only learned about the teenager's drug links a day after the operation that killed him. ]
Public Attorney's Office Chief Atty. Persida Acosta said they have a witness, Kian's former classmate, who testified that Kian had been struggling with money, thus belying the allegation that he received money from the drug trade.
"Kung kumikita sa droga si Kian, bakit kailangang isanla niya ang cellphone niya? Bakit kailangang magbenta ng t-shirt para may maibigay sa kaklaseng nasa ospital," Acosta told ANC's Headstart.
(If Kian earned from drugs, why would he need to pawn his phone? Why would he need to sell t-shirts to help a classmate who had been hospitalized?)
"Bisikleta na hindi mabili-bili. Sa Quiapo, merong mga mura lang na bisikleta; P2,500 may bisikleta ka na. Kung [drug] runner yan, courier yan, sana nakabili na yang batang yan," she said.
(He could not even buy the bicycle. In Quiapo, there are cheap ones; for only P2,500 you could have one. If he was a runner, a courier, he would have been able to buy that for himself.)
Lorenza supported this, pointing out that if her son had money to spare, he should have been able to wear better clothes instead of the second-hand ones which he usually sported.
"Kung mapera yun, dapat yung mga damit niya magaganda. Eh yung mga damit ng anak ko, as in lumang luma," she said, with her husband, Saldy, adding that Kian only bought clothes from a thrift-shop.
(If he was moneyed, his clothes should have been nicer. But my son's clothes were all very old.)
It may be a few days late, but on Friday, the last night of Kian's wake, Lorenza and Saldy brought their son the bicycle he fervently wished for.
With Kian gone, Saldy told ABS-CBN News that the bike would only be put on display to remember the boy whose dream of becoming a cop was halted by a death caused by cops.