There was a glaring contradiction: the PNP autopsy found one less gunshot wound.
PNP Crime Laboratory chief medico-legal Jane Monzon said their Caloocan medico-legal Jeselyn Cruz only confirmed two gunshot wounds on Delos Santos' head. The PAO autopsy, in contrast, found a 3rd gunshot wound on the 17-year-old boy's back.
"Malinis 'yung body niya (His body was clean)," Monzon told reporters in a news briefing.
Monzon also dismissed PAO chief Persida Acosta's claim that Delos Santos was gunned down at close range. The PNP did not trace "stippling" or close-range shooting burns on Delos Santos' body.
There could only be burn marks if Delos Santos was shot closer than 60 centimeters or around two feet. (READ: In the PH drug war, it's likely EJK when...)
When asked about the contradiction, Monzon said they may have overlooked some wounds given that they were only able to perform their autopsy after Delos Santos was embalmed.
Back wound 'very visible'
Erwin Erfe, the PAO medico-legal who performed the earlier autopsy on Delos Santos, said the gunshot wound on the boy's back would be hard to miss, even during a post-embalming autopsy.
"Kitang-kita (It is very visible)," Erfe said in a phone interview.
He said the PNP's Cruz may have neglected to flip the body to look for any wounds on the back.
Erfe added that he also found scratches near Delos Santos' belly, supposedly from the boy's fall in the rough alley. These were not reported by the PNP.
Erfe said he stands by the PAO autopsy report and promised to release photos of wounds they found.
With their findings, Acosta earlier said they will "most likely" file murder charges against the cops involved in Delos Santos' killing.
According to Monzon, they cannot tell whether the wounds they found point to murder, maintaining the presumption of regularity in the police operation.
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.