Duterte’s Senate allies to probe drug raid deaths, Kian’s killing
Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate have condemned the “recent spate of police abuses” that led to the killing of a minor in a supposed drug operation in Caloocan City.
Members of the Senate majority on Sunday signed a resolution seeking a probe into apparent lapses in the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) anti-illegal drug operations, the latest victim of which was 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos.
Senator Joel Villanueva told the Inquirer that the majority senators agreed to come up with a united stand against alleged police abuses in the war on drugs.
“I’ve spoken with the majority senators and I was tasked to draft and a lot of them already committed to sign,” Villanueva said in a phone interview on Saturday.
The senators met in a caucus Sunday night and signed the resolution.
All majority senators have signed, including Senators Nancy Binay and Francis Escudero who were not able to attend the caucus, except Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Villanueva said the senators agreed to tap Senator Panfilo Lacson’s committee on public order to investigate Delos Santos’ death and the spate of drug killings.
The resolution directed the appropriate Senate committee to conduct a probe to “determine the accountability of the PNP in the conduct of the anti-illegal drug campaign that may have resulted in unnecessary and unjustified deaths and/or killings.”
In the resolution sent to the Inquirer, the senators said: “In conducting the campaign of the Duterte administration against illegal drugs, the government must always ensure that no innocent lives are unnecessarily lost and that those within the ranks of the police or any government agency should be held fully accountable for any crime or offense.”
“The apparent abuses by the police in undertaking these drug operations have resulted in a series of tragedies such as that of Kian Loyd delos Santos,” it said.
The resolution said incidents similar to Delos Santos’s death “require deeper scrutiny to ensure the accountability of the PNP and its officers as they implement the campaign against illegal drugs.”
They intend to file the resolution when the Senate resumes on Tuesday.
It also noted that the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS), the unit tasked to investigate errant PNP member, “moved sluggishly in investigating cases and has found mitigating circumstances even where not seemingly justified.”
“We must strengthen our institutions that keep our society safe under the rule of law to eradicate the culture of impunity,” it said.
But Villanueva stressed that the senators “do not have anything against the PNP.”
“In fact, we want to capacitate the PNP as an institution but we want to hold erring officials within their ranks liable for the commission of any crime or offense,” he said.
Minority senators, meanwhile, have also expressed intention to seek a probe on Delos Santos’s death and the PNP’s bloody “one time big time operations.”
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier said he will call for an all-senators caucus to discuss the killings on Tuesday.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, on the other hand, said her office took custody of the individuals who witnessed Caloocan cops shoot Delos Santos last Aug. 16.
Delos Santos, a Grade 11 student, died after he was shot during a police operation in Barangay (village) 160. Police claimed he resisted authorities and allegedly fired at them. But witnesses and security footages obtained by the media depict a different scenario.
They said two policemen in plainclothes suddenly grabbed Delos Santos, blindfolded him, before they shot the minor. Witnesses said they saw the unarmed Delos Santos crying and pleading for his life.
Later, the police said they found two sachets of shabu and a caliber .45 in his possession. Delos Santos’ family vehemently denied that the victim was a drug user or a pusher. CBB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.