MANILA- The Office of the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation into the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos in a drug raid earlier this month, an incident that has sparked public outrage and renewed criticism of the administration's war on drugs.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Tuesday said her office is open to witnesses or interested parties who would want to help in its investigation.
The agency is the latest to investigate the case, which has also prompted a Senate inquiry. The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, an attached agency of the Department of Justice, are also undertaking separate investigations.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last week broached the idea of having the Ombudsman investigate the teen's death in a police operation in Caloocan City on Aug. 16 to ensure an impartial probe.
This as he cited Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II's 'bias' for the police.
The Ombudsman is primarily mandated to investigate cases of wrongdoing committed by public officials.
Delos Santos' death had sparked public outcry and had raised doubts on the conduct of police operations under the government's campaign against illegal drugs as evidence indicated that he was executed.
A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that two cops in civilian clothes accosted Delos Santos towards the direction where he was supposedly killed on Aug. 16. Witnesses said they saw cops hand the teen a gun, and told the latter to run for his life.
The boy, a 12th grader, was later found slumped on the ground with several gunshot wounds.
The Delos Santos family on Friday filed a murder complaint against relieved Caloocan City police station 7 chief Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, and the 3 officers tagged in the slay, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz, and PO1 Jeremias Pereda.
Oares, Cruz, and Pereda were also charged with violation of the anti-torture law.
Police claim that the boy was a drug runner and that he fired at pursuing cops on the night of the operation, prompting the officers to fire back.
Delos Santos' family denied that the teen was involved in illegal drugs.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte met with Delos Santos' parents and assured them that there would be no cover-up in the investigation and that only due process would prevail in the handling of the case.
Delos Santos was laid to rest on Saturday, a burial that drew a crowd of hundreds who demanded justice for his death and an end to drug-related killings. --with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News