Who killed Kian delos Santos? Tests point to cop who led operation

MANILA, Philippines – The bullet found in the body of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos came from the leader of the anti-drug raid in Caloocan City.

Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, police community precinct commander, made the statement while testifying at the Senate hearing on the killing of Delos Santos on Thursday, August 24.

Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, one of the 3 Caloocan cops involved in the operation that killed Delos Santos, led the raid.

“Ang actual na bumaril, based on ballistic exam, it was the firearm of PO3 Oares that matched with the bullet na nakuha sa katawan ni Kian (The one who actually fired the shot, based on the ballistic exam, it was the firearm of PO3 Oares that matched with the bullet that was taken from the remains of Kian),” Cerillo said during the hearing of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee on Thursday, August 24.

Oares was mum when asked about it. Oares and the two other cops involved in the operation, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda and Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz, were relieved from their posts because of the incident.

Caloocan police claimed they gunned down Delos Santos because he fought back. CCTV footage and eyewitness reports, however, claimed that Delos Santos was manhandled, forced to shoot, run, and shot at.

Delos Santos tested negative for gunpowder traces.

‘Asset’

Asked if they were the cops in the CCTV footage, Cruz admitted it was indeed him and Pereda but claimed the boy in the middle was an “asset,” and not Delos Santos.

“Your honor, kami po 'yung dalawang nasa CCTV, pero di po si Kian [yung isa], amin pong asset (Your honor, we are the two [policemen] in the CCTV, but that's not Kian; it's our asset),” Cruz said.

Cruz also claimed they did not know Delos Santos and only saw him at the site where he was killed. (READ: Caloocan cops 'confirmed' Kian's 'drug ties' after operation, through social media)

Senator Grace Poe, seemingly unconvinced, asked Cruz in Filipino, “If he were your asset, why were you dragging him?”

Cruz replied and said they were only protecting their “asset.”

“Kasi po yung asset po namin ayaw po namin masunog, ayaw makilala [na asset siya], ayaw na makita na may kasamang pulis (The asset didn't want to get burned, he didn't want to be identified [as an asset], didn't want to be seen with police),” Cruz said.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV then questioned Cruz and Pereda on the outfit and appearance of their asset.

Di na po namin alam (We don't know),” Cruz said.

“Your honor, di po talaga namin matandaan itsura ng asset (We can't really remember what the asset looked like),” Pereda said.

The police investigator who wrote the spot report also told senators that it was the 3 cops who told him that it was a “shooting encounter.”

The forensic laboratory of the Public Attorney’s Office found 3 gunshot wounds – one behind the left ear, one inside the left ear, and one at the back. The PNP, however, only found two shots – behind the left ear and one inside the ear.

But both tests revealed that the gunman was standing up when he killed Delos Santos, who was then facing down and in a kneeling position. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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