Duterte’s Extrajudicial War On Drugs Claims 17-Year-Old Student Kian Delos Santos

The Grade 11 student dreamt of becoming a policeman. Family and friends described him as a sweet boy. On August 16, Kian Delos Santos was found dead. He was shot three times by the police in a dark alley not far from his home in Caloocan City, Metro Manila.

Inquirer.net reported that based on findings of the autopsy conducted by a team of forensic experts led by Dr. Erwin Erfe, the first bullet hit Kian in the back. The next bullet entered behind his left ear, the third was inside the left ear.

The official autopsy report from the Philippine National Police (PNP), however, stated that there were only two gunshot wounds, both to the head.

Kian Loyd was one of 14 alleged drug suspects and 11 other robbery suspects killed that Wednesday evening in 40 simultaneous operations against the illegal drug trade and criminality, conducted by the Philippine National Police in Metro Manila.

In an interview, Manila Police District Chief Senior Superintendent Danilo Macerin stated that 25 suspects were killed and more than 150 were arrested as a result of the “one-time, big-time” synchronized operations. Macerin said that only those who resisted arrest and fought back were killed in legitimate shootout encounters.

According to the official police report, Kian Delos Santos ran as soon as he saw the police, drew his gun, and fired first, directly at the police officers, thus forcing PO3 Arnel Oares and two other officers to return fire.

A 45 caliber gun and two drug packets were allegedly recovered on Kian’s body. Four spent shell casings were also found in the area.

A day after the shooting, PNP officials said an arrested suspect identified Kian as a drug runner.

CCTV in the vicinity captured a different story. The footage showed a young man, presumably Kian Delos Santos, being dragged by two men toward the alley where he was later found dead.

A witness has also surfaced and stated that she heard Kian begging for his captors to stop and one of the men telling him to take the gun, fire it, then run.

This latest incident has sparked renewed protest actions calling for justice for the slain minor and the stop of extrajudicial killings. According to the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), at least 29 minors, including children 7-years-old and below, have already been killed as a result of Philippine President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Duterte has always stood behind the PNP against accusations of extrajudicial killings. Critics of the president have always argued that it is his directives in his war on drugs campaign that have emboldened police to summarily execute suspects.

In a recent interview, Duterte has promised that if the accused police officers are proven to be guilty, they would go to jail. No presidential pardon will be given.

The three police officers linked to the case and their direct superiors have been relieved of their duties pending an official police investigation, by order of PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

The Philippine Senate has also scheduled their impartial and independent investigation of the incident this week.

[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]