MANILA - The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) called on police leaders Monday to end a "pattern" of killings seen in the separate operations in Caloocan that killed 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
Delos Santos was shot dead after allegedly fighting cops conducting an anti-narcotics sweep last August 16. Witnesses however claimed the Grade 12 student was told to run and given a gun.
Arnaiz meanwhile was killed in a shootout allegedly after robbing a taxi driver on August 17, the same night he left their home in Cainta, Rizal. A police spot report said marijuana leaves were recovered from the teenager.
The boy's family rejected the allegations, saying he only went out with a friend to eat midnight snacks.
PAO forensic experts also found possible signs of torture on Arnaiz' body, including bruises and handcuff marks. Trajectory studies meanwhile indicated that the teenager, a former student of the University of the Philippines, was already kneeling or sprawled on the ground when he was shot 5 times.
An earlier PAO autopsy found that Delos Santos, like Arnaiz, was likely shot while the assailant stood over him, noted PAO chief Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta.
Both boys, Acosta added, had helped in their family's small stores and had a parent working abroad.
"Ang punto dito, buhay ito e. Bakit ganito ang pattern, parang may pagkakahalintulad ito kay Kian. Magkasunod po halos ito. Oras lang din ang pagitan niyan kung bibilangan ang 2 iyan," Acosta told DZMM.
"Iyung mga miyembro po ng pulis, hindi po kayo lahat kagaya nila. Ilan lang po sila. Hulihin niyo po iyung mga ganitong kasama ninyo. Kayo po ay maglinisan sa inyong rank."
(The point is, we are talking about lives here. Why is there a pattern? Arnaiz' death bears similarities to that of Kian. The 2 occurred only hours apart. Not all police personnel are like the officers involved in these cases. The latter are only a few. Arrest your rogue colleagues, cleanse your ranks.)
PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY
Two neophyte cops tagged in Arnaiz' killing have been relieved from duty and placed under restrictive custody, said Director Oscar Albayalde, head of police forces in Metro Manila.
Albayalde said he will meet with the officers and get their side early Monday. He noted however that the cops enjoy a presumption of regularity in their operations unless proven otherwise in court.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) nonetheless is set to review all Caloocan police operations amid allegations of abuse, said Albayalde.
"No less than the President has already spoken na hindi niya ito-tolerate ang pang-aabuso na puwedeng gawin ng ating kapulisan," the official told ABS-CBN's "Umagang kay Ganda."
PAO has secured the cooperation of a witness to Arnaiz' killing and has sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation to search for his 14-year-old companion on the night he went missing, Acosta said.