Robredo wants deeper 'drug war' probe after conviction of Kian's killers

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is hoping the conviction of Caloocan City cops who killed 17-year-old Kian delos Santos would mark the beginning of a deeper investigation into the bloody anti-drug campaign.

"Dapat itong maging simula ng isang malalim na imbestigasyon, dahil ito ay nagpapatunay na may malaking problemang kailangan ayusin sa kampanya ng pamahalaan kontra sa droga," said Robredo on Thursday, November 29.

(This should be the beginning of a deeper investigation, because it proves there is a huge problem that must be fixed in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.)

"Tagumpay ng bayan ang hatol na murder sa mga pulis na pumatay kay Kian delos Santos, ngunit nais nating ulitin ang matagal na nating itinatanong: Ilan ba sa libo-libong pinatay sa 'drug war' ang walang sala tulad ni Kian?" she added. 

(The conviction of the policemen who killed Kian delos Santos is a victory of the nation, but I also want to repeat the question we have long been asking: How many of the thousands killed in the name of the "drug war" were innocent like Kian?)

Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr found Police Officer III Arnel Oares, Police Officer I Jeremias Pereda, and Police Officer I Jerwin Cruz guilty of murdering Delos Santos, who was shot while kneeling in a dark alley in Barangay 160.

Delos Santos' killers were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole. (READ: 3 cops who killed Kian delos Santos do not define all of us – PNP)

Robredo, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, said it is not right to justify killings by saying the suspects supposedly fought back or "nanlaban" against the police. 

"Kailangang sundin ang itinatakda ng Konstitusyon at mga batas sa pagpapatupad ng 'war on drugs,' upang maprotektahan ang taumbayan laban sa pang-aabuso. Ito ang tanging paraan para mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga 'di makatarungang napaslang tulad ni Kian, at maiwasan ang patuloy na pagpaslang sa mga iba pang walang sala," said Robredo.  

(We need to follow what is set forth in the Constitution and in our laws in implementing the "war on drugs" to ensure that the public is protected against abuses. This is the only way to give justice to those killed like Kian, and to avoid the killing of innocents.)

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency estimated that nearly 5,000 people have been killed since the anti-drug campaign began in July 2016. But human rights groups said the actual number of deaths may be as high as 20,000. – 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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