MANILA, Philippines – Kian delos Santos was shot kneeling down, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed Thursday, August 24.
"The position of the victim, he was kneeling down. He was kneeling face down when he was shot," Jocelyn Cruz of the Northern Police Crime Lab told senators during the probe of the boy's slay.
With this information, Senator Bam Aquino asked PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa whether there is a scenario where a suspect shot in a vulnerable position can be "justified."
"Hindi ko ma-justify, your honor, kung nakaluhod (I can't justify it, your honor, if he was shot kneeling down)," he told the senator. "Kung nakaluhod ‘yan si Kian, at nakatalikod tapos babarilin mo, eh kriminal ka, murderer ka, hindi ka law enforcer (If Kian was kneeling and you shoot him, you're already a criminal, a murderer, not a law enforcer.)
The findings presented by the PNP's Cruz matched that of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), which concluded that Delos Santos was shot "nakaluhod tapos nasubsob" (while kneeling then fell forward).
Aside from the position before the kill, they agreed that two bullets entered the left side of his head and exited to the right, and that he was shot from at least two feet away.
A glaring contradiction can be found between their accounts, however, as the PNP did not find a bullet that hit Delos Santos' back, claiming his torso was "malinis (clean)" when they did the post-embalming autopsy.
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.