Caloocan police awarded best in Metro Manila same week Kian, Carl killed

AWARDED. Caloocan City Police Station is visited by residents. Rappler file photo

AWARDED. Caloocan City Police Station is visited by residents.

Rappler file photo

Perhaps no week was bigger for the Caloocan City Police Station this year than the third week of August, 2017.

On Friday that week, August 18, it received an award from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) as the Metro Manila's best city police station. The award was handed over by no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

They were awarded for their contribution to the administration’s war against drugs.

That time, Dela Rosa sought to dispel controversies regarding the spike in deaths in their one-time, big-time operations, telling his men to remain unrelenting.

Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang inyong maayos at magandang paglilingkod sa bayan at maging ehemplo kayo (Continue your good service to the country, be good examples)…Despite our [shortcomings], we certainly are not slowing down especially the war on drugs,” Dela Rosa told them.

However, he warned his men not to commit any mistakes in their operations, and that while they should remain "tough" against criminals, they should be "compassionate" to all citizens

"Basta (As long as) deep inside your hearts you know that what you are doing is for the good of the country. Pananagutan natin sa diyos kung tayo ay magkamali (God will punish us if we commit any mistake)," Dela Rosa said.


Hours before the ceremony, a Caloocan police station received a call from a distraught taxi driver saying he was robbed by a boy, later identified as 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz.

Tuesday that week, Caloocan police were supposedly shot at by 17-year-old Kian delos Santos during a drug raid.

Both operations led to a shootout. Both boys did not survive the encounter. Both have led to questions over the recognition handed to Caloocan cops. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)

Fast forward to September, all the cops involved in the two boys' deaths have been relieved and detained.

Chito Bersaluna and Roberto Fajardo – both officers who led the Caloocan Police and the Northern Police District, respectively – have since been sacked.

Dela Rosa himself has admitted to Delos Santos' slay as a case of "overkill," while he refused to compare Arnaiz's – despite more investigations called against his cops.

The Caloocan police remains recognized, but is now flooded with accusations.

From the best, arguably, they have now become the most controversial. Will they be able to turn the situation around? –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.