Bishop David hails conviction of Kian delos Santos killers

MANILA, Philippines – Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on Thursday, November 29, hailed the conviction of 3 policemen who murdered 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in Caloocan City.

This is the first conviction of abusive cops in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, and comes more than a year after Delos Santos was killed in an August 2017 drug raid, triggering massive protests against Duterte.

"Salamat sa Diyos! (Thank God!)" David said.

"Isang mabuting tanda ito na umuubra pa ang sistema ng hustisya sa bayan natin (This is a good sign that the justice system in our nation is still working)," said the Caloocan bishop. 

"Ang desisyon na ito ang magpapalakas ng loob sa mga kapamilya ng napakaraming iba pang mga kaso ng napatay dahil 'di-umano'y nanlaban.' Pero importante rin na maglakas-loob ang mga testigo at mailabas ang mga ebidensya," said David.

(This decision will give courage to the families of many others who were killed because they allegedly "fought back." But it is also important for witnesses to find courage and bring out evidence.)

David made the statement minutes after Caloocan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr convicted Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares,  Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda, and  Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz, and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua, or 20 to 40 years imprisonment, without eligibility of parole.

David is one of the most vocal critics of Duterte's anti-drug campaign. He is also the vice president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. (READ: Caloocan Bishop Pablo David: Shepherd of his slaughtered sheep

Most recently, he became the subject of Duterte's tirades, with the President suggesting that the bishop is into illegal drugs

Reacting to this, David told Duterte: "Thank God I am not even taking any maintenance drugs yet. I only take vitamins with fruit shake blended with malunggay in the morning. You might want to try it, Sir. It will do you a lot of good. God bless you." –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at