Conviction in Kian’s murder proves EJKs under Duterte admin — opposition
The lower court’s guilty verdict on three police officers involved in the death of Kian delos Santos was proof that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) exist under the Duterte administration.
This was the belief of Senator Risa Hontiveros, who also considered the conviction as a “light in the darkness… (d)espite the gruesome climate of killing and impunity in the country.”
“The court’s decision proves that EJKs under President Duterte are real, committed no less by rogue elements in the police force,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
“Tunay na may polisiya ng pagpatay sa ilalim ni Pangulong Duterte. Ang libong mga namatay ay hindi bunga ng aksidente. May intensyon, may nagdikta, may sistema at utos sa likod ng mga patayan,” she added.
According to Hontiveros, Mr. Duterte cannot “wash his hands of these killings any longer” because he had set into motion the killing of thousands of drug suspects through his words and provocation.
“He incited this culture of killing and impunity. He can no longer deny responsibility for inflicting death and violence while he has clearly and repeatedly encouraged them,” she noted.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan echoed Hontiveros’ position.
He said the court’s decision was a victory and confirmation that there were violence perpetrated by some members of the police force under the administration of Duterte.
“Ngayong umaga, nagwagi ang hustisya. Isang pagpapatunay na totoo ang karahasan ng ilang myembro ng kapulisan. Isang pagpapatunay na nagsisinungaling ang ilang alagad ng batas,” Pangilinan said in a statement also on Thursday.
“Isa itong panalo ng lahat ng nakaranas ng dahas sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Buksan na ang ating mga mata. Totoo ang mga karahasan,” he added.
Pangilinan said the court’s guilty verdict discredits the police’s “nanlaban” excuse whenever they kill a suspect.
“Binabasag nito ang palusot na nanlaban, na kadalasang ginagamit ng mga otoridad para di managot sa mga pagpatay,” he said.
Pangilinan believed the court’s decision must also serve as warning to those who perpetrate EJKs. He renewed his call for the immediate resolution of EJK cases in the country.
“Warning din ito sa mga nagtutulak ng EJKs. At higit sa lahat, inuulit namin ang tanong simula pa noong 2016 — kailan pa sosolusyunan ang EJK?,” he said.
For Senator Bam Aquino, the court’s conviction of the three policemen is an important step towards attaining justice not only for Delos Santos but also for all innocent individuals victimized by the Duterte administration’s brutal war against illegal drugs.
He also said Delos Santos was not just killed by the three police officers as the 17-year-old was clearly a casualty of a “violent policy” that puts the underprivileged at a disadvantage.
“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,” Aquino said in a statement.
“Subalit huwag nating kalilimutan, hindi lang ang tatlong pulis ang pumatay kay Kian. Pinatay siya ng isang marahas na polisiya kung saan dehado ang mga maliliit at mahihirap.”
“Hindi ito dapat matapos dito, dapat may magbago, dapat wakasan ang karahasan,” the senator added.
Meanwhile, detained Senator Leila De Lima said the court’s decision on Delos Santos’s case only points to “police complicity” that calls for an independent in-depth investigation.
She said an independent commission must be established to determine the involvement of police officers in killings under the Duterte administration’s in drug war.
The panel, she noted, must be “completely independent” from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Office of the President.
“The findings of the court in Kian’s case, the various reports on the killings, and the documentation of eyewitness accounts, all reasonably point to police complicity that should entail an independent in-depth investigation,” De Lima said in a dispatch from her detention in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“Magsilbing paalala at babala sana ito sa mga abusadong pulis, mga vigilante at mga pasimuno at mastermind ng mga patayang nagaganap: Lagi at laging mananaig ang katotohanan at katarungan. Sa tamang panahon. Sa lahat ng pagkakataon,” she added.
The staunch Duterte critic then expressed hope this conviction would strengthen people’s resolve to further seek truth and justice for the killings.
“Ang hatol sa kaso ni Kian ay magpalakas sana ng loob at magpatibay ng determinasyon sa maraming iba pang naghahanap ng katotohanan at katarungan sa mga patayan,” she said.
Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 125 found PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz guilty of killing Delos Santos in August 2017.
They were each sentenced to reclusion perpetua without eligibility of parole.
The officers, however, were acquitted of planting evidence on Delos Santos. /kga
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