Senators on convicted cops: EJK is real, review anti-drug campaign

MANILA, Philippines – Administration and opposition senators on Thursday, November 29, hailed the conviction of 3 policemen in the murder of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in 2017, saying the ruling served justice as well to other victims of the government’s drug war.

“Tagumpay ito ng katarungan laban sa dahas. Mahalagang hakbang ito sa pagkamit ng ganap na katarungan para kay Kian at sa lahat ng inosenteng biktima ng war on drugs. Sa desisyong ito, kita natin ang lakas ng taumbayan kapag tayo ay mapagbantay at nag-iisang boses para sa mga kababayan nating inaapi't walang laban,” Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said in a statement.

(This is a victory for justice against violence. This is an important step in attaining full justice for Kian and all other innocent victims of the war on drugs. In this decision, we see how strong the power of the people is if we are all vigilant and united for our fellowmen who can't fight back.)

“Hindi man maibabalik ng desisyon na ito si Kian, isa itong pagrespeto sa kanyang alaala. Isa itong panalo ng lahat ng nakaranas ng dahas sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Buksan na ang ating mga mata. Totoo ang mga karahasan,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said.

(The decision won't bring back Kian but this is in honor of his memory. This is a victory for those who experienced violence under the Duterte regime. Let us open our eyes, the violence is real.)

“This is a light in the darkness. Despite the gruesome climate of killing and impunity in the country, this verdict sends the message that there is hope and justice. And we will fight for more light and truth until the darkness cannot overcome them,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

“This is a compelling verdict because it tells us that justice is on hand, not just for the young Kian delos Santos, but for the other dubious deaths linked to the drug war,” Senator Grace Poe said.

“The court's decision has done justice to the abusive cops who brazenly took the life of Kian delos Santos. We hope that these perpetrators will face the full arm of the law,” Senator Joel Villanueva said, reiterating his call for a review of the government’s anti-drug campaign.

Duterte’s role?

Pangilinan and Hontiveros said the conviction is proof that there is state-sponsored violence under President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ngayong umaga, nagwagi ang hustisya.... Isang pagpapatunay na totoo ang karahasan ng ilang miyembro ng kapulisan. Isang pagpapatunay na nagsisinungaling ang ilang alagad ng batas,” Pangilinan said. (Today, justice has won. This is proof of the violence of some policemen. This is proof that law enforcers were lying.)

“The court's decision proves that EJKs under President Duterte are real, committed no less by rogue elements in the police force,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said Duterte “cannot wash his hands of these killings any longer” and that “his apologists cannot play deaf, dumb, and blind.”

Caloocan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr on Thursday convicted Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda, and Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz, and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole.

The 3 were also ordered to pay Delos Santos' family P100,000 in civil indemnity, P100,000 in moral damages, P45,000 in actual damages, and P100,000 in exemplary damages. –

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