MANILA, Philippines – Police involved in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos maintain that he fought back.
According to the Caloocan police's consolidated initial investigation report obtained by Rappler, cops were only forced to retaliate during the raid that claimed Delos Santos' life, which was part of the cops' one-time, big-time operation.
As told by PO3 Arnel Oares, it all happened at around 8:45 pm of August 16 with an 11-man team from Caloocan Police Community Precinct 7 (PCP-7) conducting an anti-drug and anti-crime operation at Block 7, Riverside, in Barangay 160.
Oares said they "divided themselves into groups" to cover more ground.
Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and a civilian informant formed "one of the groups that crossed the basketball court." Other groups were tasked to cover other narrow passages.
Oares and his team entered an alley "on the right portion" of the court and "subsequently turned left."
In that lane, they were met "by several male persons who were scampering away after sensing the operation."
Oares said in the report that they were "prompted to go after" the men, starting a chase.
He said they identified themselves as cops but the men did not stop.
As they reached the end of the path, described by Oares as "a narrow road blocked by a concrete fence bordering Valenzuela City by [the] Tullahan River," shots were fired "from their left side."
He said the shots got them ducking, but they "managed to spot the retreating male person."
Oares then chased the gunman. The cop said he was "prompted to return fire" to prevent further aggression, and ended up killing the gunman.
The supposed gunman was Kian Loyd delos Santos.
Kian the family 'drug runner'?
Recovered from the scene were 4 fired cartridge cases, a caliber .45 pistol, and two transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substances believed to be shabu.
The next day, PCP-7 conducted another operation along Tullahan Road, Apple Ville, Barangay 162, resulting in the arrest of a certain Renato Loveras and "3 other drug personalities."
Loveras apparently told police that Delos Santos "receives 10 grams of shabu daily," sometimes handed to him by a certain Jeslyn Escopin, daughter of arrested drug suspect Jessie Escopin.
The police report added that a background investigation on Saldy delos Santos, Kian's father, revealed that he was "involved in criminal activities in the past."
Despite accusations against the Delos Santos family, however, Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde said they are focusing primarily on the allegation that the younger Delos Santos was a victim of an extrajudicial killing.
Based on CCTV footage and eyewitness reports, Delos Santos was unarmed, but given a gun by the police and coerced to run and shoot.
With doubts surrounding the narrative of Oares and his team, they have been placed under the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit – the unit where cops report daily when they are suspended.
Their supervisor, Police Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, was also relieved and assigned to the holding unit.
The case of Delos Santos has sparked outrage in the country, with many believing there was foul play.
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.