MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Thursday that teenager Kian Delos Santos was not “collateral damage” in the government's drug war as his killing in the hands of police appeared “illegal.”
The justice chief's remarks seemed to contradict his earlier statements on the case, where he said the teen's death was "blown out of proportion."
Making reference to the anti-narcotics war, Aguirre had said in a House of Representatives budget hearing last week that: "'Pag giyera, hindi talaga maiiwasan ang collateral damage (In a war, you can't really avoid collateral damage)."
Speaking at a budget hearing at the Senate this time, Aguirre cited the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showing policemen in civilian clothes dragging the 12th grader shortly before he was killed.
Autopsy reports later suggested that the 17-year-old was executed while kneeling at the end of a dimly lit alley in Caloocan City on Aug. 16.
“Unlike the killing of some minors, this is not a collateral damage because from the evidence… from the CCTV, it appears that this is an illegal killing,” Aguirre told Senators.
But he said the case was “isolated,” noting that Delos Santos was the only one who ended up dead out of 518 minors who have been arrested around Metro Manila under the drug war.
Senators have condemned Delos Santos' killing, initiating a legislative inquiry into his death.