Delos Santos’ death triggered massive condemnation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent war on drugs which has so far yielded about 5,000 deaths in police operations. Delos Santos is one of the many minors killed in drug-related circumstances since 2016.
Below is a timeline of key events pertaining to the 6-month trial that led to the conviction:
AUGUST 16, 2017
Surveillance videos from CCTV in the area, together with witness accounts, show that the 17-year-old was dragged by policemen across alleys and into a corner where he was shot.
AUGUST 18, 2017
"What we can say with confidence is that those who are guilty of breaking the law, misuse or abuse will have to answer for that," then presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella assures the public.
AUGUST 19, 2017
The Department of Justice announces it has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the police raid that led to the death of Delos Santos.
Department Order Number 546, signed by then justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, directs the NBI to conduct an investigation and do a case build-up on the incident and to file appropriate charges.
AUGUST 20, 2017
Senator Risa Hontiveros announces she has given protection to some witnesses in the killing of Delos Santos, adding that they are ready to face an investigation should there be one.
The Commission on Human Rights also says its National Capital Region (NCR) office has launched an independent investigation.
The Senate majority bloc, meanwhile, adopts a resolution calling for a probe into the spate of killings in the Duterte administration's drug war, including the death of Delos Santos.
AUGUST 21, 2017
Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
The PNP also says it has ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to conduct a probe into the case.
AUGUST 22, 2017
AUGUST 23, 2017
Then justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II says the death of Delos Santos was “blown out of proportion” by the media and that the drug war, like any war, would have collateral damage.
AUGUST 24, 2017
The Senate conducts a hearing on the case. Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos, confront their son’s killers who claimed that he was a "drug courier.”
“Ang pangarap ng anak ko maging pulis. Kaya po siya nag-aral sa Our Lady of Lourdes College dahil may criminology, tapos kukuhanin 'nyo lang nang ganoong kadali (My son dreamed of becoming a policeman. He studied at Our Lady of Lourdes College because it offered criminology, then you'll take him away just like that),” Saldy says.
AUGUST 25, 2017
The parents of Delos Santos, represented by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), file murder and torture complaints before the Department of Justice against the Caloocan policemen involved in the raid that led to the teen's death.
AUGUST 26, 2017
AUGUST 28, 2017
AUGUST 29, 2017
Then ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales announces that her office has started its own probe into the death of Kian delos Santos.
AUGUST 31, 2017
The National Bureau of Investigation says its investigation established that Delos Santos' death was a case of intentional killing. The bureau files a complaint for murder and planting of evidence against Caloocan cops.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2017
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) files administrative and criminal complaints against Caloocan policemen. The complaints use eyewitness accounts as basis.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2017
The PNP Internal Affairs Service announces that there is probable cause to press charges after its investigation found serious irregularities in the drug raid which led to the death of Delos Santos.
It later reveals that the cops’ “acts collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident."
Then PNP chief director general Ronald dela Rosa admits his cops may have taken it too far, adding that there was “really an overkill.”
SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
The Department of Justice begins its preliminary investigation.
OCTOBER 16, 2017
A Pulse Asia survey finds that “most” Filipinos are concerned that they too could end up like Delos Santos. At least 76% of those who knew about the case said they were “worried that they, a member of their family, a relative, or an acquaintance may experience the same fate as Delos Santos due to the implementation of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.”
OCTOBER 27, 2017
The DOJ concludes its preliminary probe.
JANUARY 29, 2018
u0080u008b File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler
The prosecution panel at the Department of Justice indict for murder 3 cops – Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda – and a civilian named Renato Perez Loveras.
"They're being charged for murder because treachery was found to be present because the sudden and unexpected attack on the hapless victim Kian was clear and convincing,” Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan says.
FEBRUARY 7, 2018
JULY 12, 2018
Caloocan RTC Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr denies in open court a bid by the defense to avoid presenting its own evidence. He also denies a manifestation of defense lawyer Oliver Yuan to file a demurrer of evidence, which is a motion to dismiss the case on the basis of weak evidence on the part of the prosecution.
AUGUST 28, 2018
Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
A memorial marker for Kian Loyd delos Santos is unveiled at the San Roque Cathedral, Caloocan City. It seeks to remember not just him but all the victims of the violent war on drugs.
AUGUST 23, 2018
Accused PO1 Jeremias Pereda tells the court that the accounts of eyewitnesses in the death of Delos Santos are not valid conclusions. He insists there is no full-proof way of ascertaining it was Delos Santos whom they were dragging as captured by the CCTV that night.
AUGUST 30, 2018
PO1 Jerwin Cruz, one of the accused cops, maintains that the boy they were dragging was a police asset and not Delos Santos. He says they told the asset to cover his face to avoid being recognized by the community.
The accused’s legal counsel Oliver Yuan says he is optimistic there would be an acquittal, saying that “if we’re going to base everything on the law, we should get an acquittal.”
NOVEMBER 29, 2018
Caloocan RTC Branch 125 finds 3 Caloocan policemen – Oares, Pereda, and Cruz – guilty of murdering Kian delos Santos. They are sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole.
In the 35-page decision, Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr says:
The court commiserates with our policemen who regularly thrust their lives in zones of danger in order to maintain peace and order and acknowledges the apprehension faced by their families whenever they go on duty... But the use of unnecessary force or wanton violence is not justified when the fulfilment of their duty as law enforcers can be effected otherwise. A shoot first, think later attitude can never be countenanced in a civilized society."
The cops were found not guilty of planting firearms and drugs. – Rappler.com
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.