MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said Monday that it is his office which has jurisdiction over the police killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos -- not the Office of the Ombudsman, as claimed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
The justice chief said the Ombudsman only handles cases against public officials with a salary grade of 27 and above. The officials tagged in the August 16 raid that killed Delos Santos earns less than this.
"Walang jurisdiction ang Ombudsman kaya't kailanman ay hindi maaaring dinggin ang preliminary investigation ng Ombudsman," Aguirre told DZMM.
Drilon and Sen. Risa Hontiveros had urged Aguirre to inhibit from the case after he called the killing of the Grade 11 student an "isolated case."
Drilon also raised concern that the case may end up like that of slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Leyte, which DOJ prosecutors downgraded from murder to homicide.
Aguirre rejected the accusations, saying that if anyone should stay away from the case, it should be the 2 senators because of their supposed bias against the administration's anti-narcotics drive.
"Walang katotohanan, walang basehan ang kanilang mga paratang na iyan. Alam naman natin na si Senator Drilon, kasama si Senator Hontiveros, wala namang nakikitang maganda iyan pagdating kay President Duterte,"he said.
"Hinihingi ko rin sa kanilang 2 na mag-inhibit din sila sa anumang pagdinig o investigation na gagawin dito sa Kian killing o anumang kaso o imbestigasyon na ang kanilang bias or impartiality is under question."
KIAN CASE 'ISOLATED, OVERBLOWN'
Aguirre also maintained that Delos Santos' death was an "isolated case" as he was the only one killed out of the 518 minors arrested in drug operations across Metro Manila.
He added that the incident was "blown out of proportion" by rights activists and religious groups, which he said stayed silent in crimes committed by drug suspects, like the massacre of 5 members of a family in Bulacan.
"Hindi man lang natin nakita na ini-condemn ang pagpatay doon sa 5 sa Bulacan. Mas marami po iyun at 3 pang bata ang pinatay. Puro inosente ang batang iyun, si Kian inosente rin," he said.
(We did not even see them condemning the murder of 5 people in Bulacan. There are more victims there and 3 of them were children. These were all innocent children and so was Kian.)
"Walang diperensya ang pagpatay ng pulis at pagpatay ng adik kung ang magiging biktima nito ay mga batang walang kamuwang-muwang, inosente, walang kasalanan... Pare-pareho pong buhay ang kinitil nila."
(There is no difference in the killings committed by police and drug addicts if the victims are innocent and sinless. A life was taken in both cases.)