Outpouring of sympathy for family of teenager
A decrepit two-storey house in Barangay 160 in Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan, has been packed with people since Friday in an outpouring of sympathy for the family of teenager Kian Loyd delos Santos who was shot dead in a recent police antidrug operation.
Common folk paid their last respects alongside VIPs like Sen. Risa Hontiveros, former Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, FSC; Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, Caloocan Bishop Pablo David and representatives from Amnesty International, the Commission on Human Rights and Iglesia ni Kristo.
In a simple casket lay the remains of the 17-year-old Delos Santos, whose death in a “One Time, Big Time” police raid on Wednesday night has sparked a nationwide furor.
Police claimed that Kian had shot it out with the lawmen. But relatives, witnesses and those who knew him well disputed this, saying the Grade 12 student was “so kind-hearted, so selfless” he could not have been a drug suspect.
Next to Kian’s casket sat his mother, Lorenza, who rushed home from Riyadh on Thursday upon learning of the death of her son. “Malambing ang anak ko na ’yan (My son was so sweet),” she said in between sobs.
Krysyle Reyes, Kian’s former Grade 11 adviser, described Kian as the class clown. “He was just a typical high schooler,” she said. “When they had difficult school assignments, he would try to lift up his classmates’ spirits with jokes.”
Reyes could not believe that Kian had been killed for allegedly pushing drugs. “He didn’t even have a ballpen. He’d use charm if he didn’t have snacks,” she said in Filipino.
But whatever Kian lacked in material things, he had the generosity of spirit in abundance, according to his friends and relatives.
His grandmother, Violeta, recalled how, on the night he died, Kian borrowed money from her to buy kikiam.
“Sabi niya, ‘Ito lang po ang ulam ko ngayon, hati po tayo’ (He said, ‘This is my only meal, I’ll share it with you’),” she recalled Kian saying.
Kian’s best friend Lenard Macorol tearfully recalled how, when he was hospitalized early this year after an accident, Kian sold his clothes so he could buy him a watermelon and apples.
“He wanted me to recover fast so I can go back to school,” he said.
Everyone, it seemed, knew that Kian was a popular kid in school. He was congenial and said hello to everyone, even those he didn’t know.
“He was always the joker,” Macorol said in Filipino. “Sometimes, we could hardly get through a class because he kept making jokes.
“Kian was actually in favor of the government’s war on drugs,” Macorol added. “He even participated in a classroom debate arguing about the need for it. He believed that all drug addicts should go.”
Arlene Cenal, assistant high school principal at Our Lady of Lourdes College where Kian studied, said that, apart from tardiness, he did not have records of misdemeanor or any major violations.
Almost everyone in the wake refused to believe that Kian pushed drugs or had a gun when he was shot dead.
“It’s maddening because it’s impossible,” said Allen Serrano, 18.
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