DOJ orders probe into 17-year-old student's death

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the police drug raid that killed 17-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos in Caloocan City.

Aguirre signed Department Order Number 546 on Friday, August 18, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) publicized the document on Saturday, August 19. 

"The National Bureau of Investigation, through Director Dante A Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct investigation and case build-up over the death of 17-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos, who died during the anti-illegal drugs operation in Caloocan City on 16 August 2017, and to file appropriate charges thereon, if any, as evidence may warrant," Aguirre said. 

The PNP's anti-drug and criminality campaign was at its bloodiest in the past week, with separate operations in Bulacan, Manila, Caloocan, Navotas, and Valenzuela leading to the killing of 81 drug suspects.

The police operations received praise from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

Among those killed was 17-year-old Delos Santos. Cops claimed Delos Santos shot at them and the police had to shoot the teenager in self-defense. (READ: Our son, Kian: A good, sweet boy

But CCTV video and witnesses indicate otherwise. CCTV footage showed policemen dragging Delos Santos, his head covered, to the place where he was eventually shot. The police team included Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.

This sparked condemnation among lawmakers, human rights groups, and netizens alike. (READ: Kalookan bishop slams killing of 17-year-old boy in drug war

On Saturday, Assistant to the Presidential Spokesperson Chino Jocson said the Philippine National Police has already suspended the officers involved in the raid pending an investigation.

She also said the "deeply regrettable" death of Delos Santos has challenged authorities "to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority." 

This was a contrast to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s previous statement on Delos Santos' death.

"This is not a reckless exercise of blood letting. There's a rhyme and a reason in the police operations," said Abella on Friday, August 18.

Read the full copy of the DOJ's Department Order Number 546 below:

– with reports from Lian Buan/Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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