17-Year-Old Suspected Drug Peddler Gunned Down by Police Officers In The Philippines

Philippine president Rody Duterte’s war on drugs claimed another life as Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a suspected drug runner, was gunned down by Caloocan City police officers. The officers claim that they were forced to fire on the 17-year-old high-school student after he opened fire on the officers in an effort to escape. However, eyewitnesses contradict this story and reveal that Delos Santos was unarmed.

Who is Kian Loyd Delos Santos?

According to the people who knew him best, Kian Loyd Delos Santos was a 17-year-old high-school student who wanted to join the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the future. He was reportedly a hardworking student who found time to help out at his family’s convenience store in between his school work. His family also supported President Duterte’s candidacy during the Philippine election and also backs the President’s policy against illegal drugs.

People close to the victim claim that he is not involved in illegal drugs and that he was neither a drug user nor a drug courier as the authorities insist. No one could have predicted that his life would end at the hands of the same officers whose ranks he allegedly wanted to join, and die for an alleged crime he supposedly had nothing to do with. Delos Santos now joins the countless casualties of the President’s war on drugs.

War on Drugs

Kian Loyd Delos Santos became the latest victim of President Duterte’s war on drugs. A few days ago, United States President Donald Trump and his new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, declared war against illegal drugs. According to the Guardian, Trump and Sessions are reportedly trying to bring back America’s extreme policies with regards to substance abuse and eventual incarceration.

While the U.S. has seen a drop in America’s addiction and incarceration during the Obama administration, Sessions’ hardline stance could see the number of incarceration go up again. This action could lead to possible human rights abuse just like what is allegedly happening in the Philippines. And judging by the situation in the Philippines, America could be facing the very same situation in the future.

People lined up in front of the Philippine National Police to protest the extra judicial killings.
Protesters condemn the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos (Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images)

According to the Inquirer.net, the PNP claimed that Delos Santos was a suspected drug courier based on their intelligence report. The authorities also revealed that while the minor was not included in their watch list but admitted that he was a person of interest.

According to the police officers involved in the incident, the suspected drug dealer opened fire on them which forced the officers to retaliate during a drug raid last August 16. However, several witnesses claimed that the police’s assertion wasn’t true.

The Caloocan police report claims that Delos Santos “noticed the presence of approaching police officers, suddenly drew his firearm and directly shot toward the lawman but missed, prompting Police Officer 3 Oares to return fire.” At the crime scene, a caliber.45 pistol, four empty shells, and an undetermined amount of suspected crystal meth were found in the victim’s possessions.

The CCTV footage, however, tells a different story than the one provided by the authorities and seems to back the statements of the eyewitnesses. In the CCTV footage, two men were seen dragging away a boy believed to be Delos Santos to a location near where the boy was shot. Eyewitnesses claimed that the cops beat up the teenager prior to being killed.

President Duterte's supporters backs the Philippine war on drugs.
Supporters backs the President's war on drugs. (Image by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)

Moments later, the teenager was found dead with the gun in his left hand. According to the boy’s father Zaldy Delos Santos, his son was right-handed. During the Caloocan Police raid the same day, 18 other people were killed in separate operations which further put the President’s office in hot waters.

PNP autopsy contradicts forensic experts’ report

According to the Police autopsy, Kian Delos Santos died of two gunshot wounds. The two bullets respectively hit the boy’s left ear and the back of the ear according to the police report. The bullets were reportedly shot downward at a distance that is not closer than 60 centimeters from the gun point.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the findings of the PNP report and an independent forensic examination performed at the behest of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) have glaring dissimilarities. The PAO findings revealed that there was a third gunshot wound found at the back of the boy’s body. Curiously, the third bullet wound was not included in the police report. Dr. Erwin Erfe, director of the PAO forensic laboratory, believes that the angle of the bullet wound suggests that gunmen intentionally killed the boy.

According to Erfe, their investigation concluded that Delos Santos was shot lying face down with the gunman standing over him. Erfe adds that the bruises on the suspected drug courier’s body allegedly suggest that the boy was beaten up as the eyewitnesses claim. Also, there was no gunpowder residue found on Delos Santos’ hand contrary to the report of the police.

Are the family members drug runners?

The PNP Director Ronald Dela Rosa, in a radio interview, stated that Delos Santos was being used by his father, Zaldy, and his uncles for illegal drug transactions. Dela Rosa further said that the boy’s family members, specifically his father and uncles, are not only drug runners but are also drug users.

To disprove the PNP chief’s allegations, the members of the Delos Santos family are reportedly willing to undergo drug testing. Meanwhile, the police officers involved have been relieved of duty.

[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]