Politics making Kian look more innocent than he is – police chief

MANILA, Philippines – The death of 17-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos has been politicized, making him appear more innocent than he actually is, according to Northern Police District (NPD) Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo.

The NPD encompasses Caloocan, where Delos Santos was shot dead by police on August 16, as well as Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela.

"Ang tawag ng mga tao [sa kanya], adik, pusher pero ngayong patay na siya, mabait na siya. Sinasakyan na ito, na mabait na siya at santo na siya. Pero before that, lumalabas na adik at pusher daw siya," said Fajardo in a news briefing on Delos Santos' case on Monday, August 21.

(People used to call him an addict and a pusher, but now that he is dead, he is now being described as kind. People are riding on this, that he was kind and practically a saint. But before that, it seemed he was an addict and a pusher.)

Delos Santos' death had ignited public outrage, from civil society to key government officials.

But Fajardo reiterated on Monday that intelligence reports say Delos Santos was a drug runner, possibly even for his father and uncle, and was receiving 10 grams of shabu daily. (READ: How Kian delos Santos was killed, according to police)

According to Fajardo, if Delos Santos' father and uncle are not involved in drugs, they should have at least known that the teenager was supposedly moonlighting as a courier.

"'Yung Neneng ang nag-uutos, siya ang ginagamit na courier. Dapat alam ng father," the NPD chief said. (Neneng was the one giving instructions to Delos Santos and using him as a runner. The boy's father should have known this.)

Fajardo added that, if Delos Santos really had been a drug runner, he would not be the first, as police have previously dealt with drug pushers using minors to get their fix.

Different focus for probe

Despite these accusations, Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde reiterated in the news briefing that they are focusing on whether Delos Santos was actually a victim of an extrajudicial killing, not whether he was a drug runner for his own family. (READ: In the PH drug war, it's likely EJK when...)

The cops involved in Delos Santos' killing have since been placed under restrictive custody, barring them from leaving Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

According to Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, the cops will be transferred "within the week" to Camp Crame in Quezon City, under criminal investigation by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Complementing the CIDG probe is the investigation by the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS), which looks into administrative violations.

Outside the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have begun their independent probes.

Even senators allied with President Rodrigo Duterte have called for an inquiry into the police's recent bloody operations in the President's unrelenting war on drugs, including the raid that killed Delos Santos. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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