Policemen in Kian delos Santos case to take witness stand

MANILA, Philippines – The 3 policemen charged with the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos will be taking the witness stand after the court denied on Thursday, July 12, their bid to avoid this. 

Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr denied in open court a bid by the defense to avoid presenting its own evidence, citing a failure of the prosecution to show guilt beyond reasonable doubt in the murder trial of Delos Santos, a sensational case of alleged police-led summary execution. 

“The motion for leave is denied, the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence,” Azucena said on Thursday, immediately denying a verbal manifestation from defense lawyer Oliver Yuan to file a demurrer of evidence, a motion to dismiss the case based on the prosecution's weak evidence.

Before a demurrer can be filed, the court must first give permission or approve a motion for leave. This was not granted in the case of the 3 accused policemen.

Police Officer 3 (PO3) Arnel Oares will be the first to take the witness stand on August 6. Oares, who is now detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, attended the hearing on Thursday in civilian clothes wearing handcuffs. 

The other two accused, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz, also attended the hearing. They are detained in the Valenzuela City Jail.

Evidence

The policemen will be put on the stand to reply to the evidence formally presented by the prosecution on Thursday.

The cops will have to answer to several eyewitness testimonies that accuse them, among others, of shooting Delos Santos while the teen was kneeling down.

Neighbors claimed to have seen the cops dragging Delos Santos while the cops shouted at onlookers to go back inside their houses. A neighbor testified she saw Kian on the ground in fetal position, and that cops shot him several times after.

They also claimed to have heard Delos Santos beg, “Huwag po (Please don’t).”

Delos Santos’ case was among the deaths in police anti-drug operations where cops claimed the victim died because he resisted arrest and fought back with guns.

A CCTV footage, however, showed the cops dragging the teen.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has concluded it was a case of murder, and that cops planted evidence of shabu. The NBI findings formed part of the prosecution's evidence. 

Azucena said in previous hearings that should schedules go as planned, there will be a decision by October. 

Delos Santos’ case prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to temper his usually tough rhetoric on the war on drugs. Two days later, another teen by the name of Carl Arnaiz died also supposedly in the hands of police. 

A trial is also ongoing in the Arnaiz death. with a report from Jane Bautista/Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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