The Caloocan police spot report read, in part: “… notice[d] the presence of approaching police officers, suddenly drew his firearm and directly shot toward the lawmen but missed, prompting PO3 Oares to return fire.”
At face value, it appeared that this was yet another case of “Nanlaban” (law enforcement lingo for resisting arrest or fought back). But the public smelled a big stink, and promptly called it out especially in social media circles, panning the police’s take on the matter.
The cops had claimed that the boy opened fire at them first, so they were compelled to return fire.
The ill-fated boy, the son of Lorenza, was Kian Lloyd delos Santos, whose name had quickly spread, virally, on social networks over the way his life was snatched.
A caliber .45 pistol, four empty shells and two packets of what was suspected to be shabu (crystal meth) were reportedly found on Kian’s person.
Kian was a Grade 11 student at Our Lady of Mount Carmel College in Caloocan city.
The delos Santos family insists Kian was not into drugs.
“Hindi masama yung anak ko, hindi nga naninigarilyo yung anak ko eh. Sana, tulungan niyo naman po ako. Ang dami pa namang nagmamahal sa anak ko … napakainosente ng anak ko mahal na mahal ko yan (My son is not a bad boy. He doesn’t even smoke. Please help me. So many people love him).”
Closed Circuit television footage from the crime scene tends to cast the police’s account in doubt. The video shows a figure, believed to be Kian, being dragged away by two men in civilian attire to the area where he was shot dead.
There were neighbors who claimed that the cops beat up the teenager before shooting him.
One person said he was first frisked, but no firearm was found.
Then he was slapped repeatedly and hit in th stomach area. “Our friend was in boxer shorts. If there was, indeed, a gun, that would have fallen out.”
‘Not a southpaw’
Kian’s father, Zaldy, also questioned the police’s claim that they recovered a pistol from his son’s left hand: “Ang anak ko right handed eh. Paano mangyayari yun? Wala kaming kakayahang bumili ng ganung baril … planted … kinawawa nila yung bata. May anak din sila. May anak ka rin. Sana hwag mangyari sa kanya (My son is right-handed. How did that happen? We don’t have the means to buy such a weapon … [it was] planted … they really trashed the kid. These persons also have kids. You, too, have kids. I hope this doesn’t happen to him).”
Representatives of the National Police Commission and the Commission on Human Rights have since visited the scene of the crime.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa, called for an investigation even as he egged his men to continue their crackdown on drugs: “The President said our war on drugs is unrelenting. We don’t care who gets killed, big fish or small. We won’t look at who you are. There will be no sacred cows.”
Some 18 other people died separately that same night that Kian lost his life – all part of the Caloocan police’s operation plan.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the circumstances of the boy’s death was an isolated case: “This is not a reckless exercise of bloodletting. There’s rhyme and reason to these police operations. Police authorities follow protocols … any breach, charges will be made … made answerable to the law.”
The three cops implicated in the case have since been relieved.
‘Justice, Mr. President’
But for Lorenza, sacking the cops just won’t do justice. She would rather see the law show incontrovertible proof that her son was into drugs.
She steadfastly believes her son is innocent.
Her message to President Duterte: Help her obtain justice for the death of Kian.