Malacañang: Police should be 'wary of reckless exercise of power'

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Saturday, August 19, that the "deeply regrettable" death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos has challenged authorities "to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority."

Assistant to the Presidential Spokesperson China Jocson made the statement in an interview on Radyo ng Bayan, as the killing of the teenager continued to fuel national outrage.

“This deeply regrettable incident has triggered deep public sentiment, and challenges those in law enforcement to be wary of the reckless exercise of power and authority,” Jocson said.

The tone of the statement was markedly different from what Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Friday, August 18, about the fresh spate of killings in the drug war, where Delos Santos was among the casualties: "This is not a reckless exercise of blood letting. There’s a rhyme and a reason in the police operations."

Abella also said on Friday that Delos Santos' death was an "isolated case." (READ: LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte's drug war)

On Saturday, Jocson said Abella wanted to make it clear that “the violent death of any Filipino is one death too many, especially that of Kian Loyd delos Santos.”

Jocson noted that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was set to start investigations on the “one-time big-time” drug raid that led to the death of Delos Santos and many others.

“NCR Police Director Oscar D. Albayalde has expressed their condolences to the bereaved family. He has ordered the relief and investigation of all involved, and assured the public that mistakes and illegal acts will not be tolerated,” she 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. President Rodrigo Duterte had lauded the effort.

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