Amid uproar over Kian’s death, Duterte’s Senate allies move to probe his pet campaign vs illegal drugs

August 21, 2017 - 9:06 AM
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Kian Loyd Delos Santos from his Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the uproar against the killing of Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos, allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate moved to have the chief executive’s pet campaign against illegal drugs investigated as this “may have resulted in unnecessary and unjustified deaths and/or killings.”

In a resolution signed by members of the majority bloc led by Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the lawmakers “condemned” Delos Santos’ killing during an August 16 police anti-drug operation in Caloocan City and also directed the “appropriate Senate Committee to inquire and review the conduct of anti-drug operations by the PNP as an institution, to held erring officials within their ranks liable for the commission any crime or offense.”

The senators noted in their resolution that incidents in the past similar to Delos Santos’ case “have happened in carrying out the campaign of the Duterte administration against illegal drugs” and thus need a more thorough inquiry

“The apparent abuses by the police in undertaking these drug operations have resulted in a series of tragedies such as that of Kian Loyd delos Santos,” they said.

“Similar incidents require deeper scrutiny to ensure the accountability of the PNP and its offices as they implement the campaign against illegal drugs, the senators added.

In a span of only 24 hours from August 15 to 16, a total of 32 people were killed in Bulacan during a series of police anti-drug operations in the province.

Following the killings, Duterte said it was okay with him if authorities eliminate tens of Filipinos daily if this is the way to solve the country’s narcotics problem, just like what authorities did in Bulacan.

“‘Yong namatay daw kanina sa Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid. Maganda ‘yon. Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce…what ails this country,” said Duterte.

[READ RELATED STORY: Duterte on killing of 32 in Bulacan: ‘Maganda ‘yon…makapatay ng 32 everyday’]

On August 17, 28 people were killed in Manila following another series of anti-narcotics operations, which was followed by the August 18 slay of another 13 persons in the same city.

Delos Santos, 17, was among the fatalities. According to the police, the 17-year-old student tried to run away and later engaged in a shootout with authorities from Precinct 7 along Block 7 Riverside in Barangay Baesa, Caloocan.

But according to witnesses and CCTV footage, Delos Santos had already been apprehended by the police and that was forced to hold a gun and run with the weapon before he was shot.

Meanwhile, anti-killings groups, Rise Up For Life and Rights, Stop the Killings Network, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said they would hold a “Walk for Justice” Monday for Delos Santos and all the victims of the Duterte administration’s drug war.

The groups said they would also light candles at the crime scene where Delos Santos was killed before holding a program at his wake.

The groups have the following schedules on Monday:

4:30 PM – Assembly at Sta. Quiteria Church, Caloocan City
5:00 PM – Walk and Candle Lighting for Justice at the Crime Scene
6:00 PM – Walk to the Wake of Kian Delos Santos

They said Monday’s protest is only a prelude to a series of rallies this week.

Also, various groups are set to hold #ShoutForLife noise barrage and candle lighting protest at Camp Crame in Quezonm City on Wednesday in time for the third month of Duterte’s imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

A Metro-wide indignation rally is likwise set for the #BlackFriday protest on August 25 in various protest centers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.