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Kian negative for powder burns

A protester holds a photo of Kian delos Santos during a rally in front of Camp Crame yesterday. AP

MANILA, Philippines - Kian Loyd delos Santos, the 17-year-old Grade 11 student who was shot dead after allegedly engaging policemen in a shootout in Caloocan City, tested negative for gunpowder burns, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory declared yesterday.

“Paraffin casts taken from both hands of one Kian Loyd delos Santos gave negative result to the test of gunpowder nitrates,” a summary of examination results read.

PNP Crime Lab director Chief Supt. Aurelio Trampe Jr. told a press briefing that it is also possible the result would be different if the test were done earlier. The paraffin test on Delos Santos was made beyond the 72-hour period.

A police official from the Crime Lab earlier said it does not mean the person involved did not fire a gun as there are other factors such as wind velocity and type of firearms used, which could give a negative result.

The four 9mm pistols used by the policemen involved were tested positive for gunpowder residue, the summary added.

Police had claimed Delos Santos tried to flee when he saw the lawmen approaching him during a drug sting in Libis Baesa, Caloocan City on Aug. 16.

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Policemen gave chase but Delos Santos allegedly pulled out a handgun and opened fire, triggering a brief firefight.

Delos Santos was killed during the exchange of fire, according to police who added Delos Santos had a .45 automatic and two sachets of shabu.

His relatives, however, disputed the police claims, saying the gun and drugs were planted.

The relatives showed a barangay security video showing two men dragging Delos Santos.

Witnesses said the policemen handed the gun to Delos Santos and ordered him to run before shooting him down.

Police justified the killing as self defense and stressed Delos Santos was a drug runner for his father and uncle.

There were supposedly several witnesses disputing the police claim but Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II doubted this.

Aguirre said the three witnesses could now be “polluted” after they were taken into protective custody by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a vocal critic of Duterte’s war on drugs.

“Of course it will affect the credibility of these witnesses, considering the bias of their handler,” he said.

Aguirre stressed the witnesses should have been taken into custody by the justice department under the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

“It is the WPP which has the mandate to protect witnesses,” he said.

Autopsy disputed

The autopsy on Delos Santos showed he sustained two gunshot wounds in the head, Trampe told a press briefing, contradicting the report of a team of forensic experts from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

“According to the results of the Crime Lab, their findings said there were only two gunshots,” Trampe said.

The autopsy was conducted by Jocelyn Cruz of the Northern Police District Crime Lab.

The entry points were in the left ear and the back of his left ear, both bullets exiting on the right side of his head.

“There was no mention according to this medico legal report of a wound on the body,” said Jane Monzon, officer in charge of the PNP Crime Lab medico legal office.

Monzon told the media briefing that there were no signs of “soot or tattooing” and “stippling” on Delos Santos’ body, meaning the victim was shot from a distance.

“So I assume this is more than 60 centimeters from the tip of the barrel (of the gun),” she said.

There were no signs of other injuries on the victim’s body aside from the two gunshot wounds in the head.

On allegations Delos Santos was summarily executed, Monzon said this could not be established based on the autopsy report.

Monzon refused to comment on the findings of PAO, which said Delos Santos sustained three gunshot wounds.

“I don’t have any personal knowledge. I did not see the pictures,” she said.

The policemen involved in the shooting were placed under administrative custody pending the filing of criminal charges.

The two policemen seen in the security video had admitted before the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) that they were the ones dragging Delos Santos.

Their superiors, including Northern Police District director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, have been relieved amid public outcry on the killing of Delos Santos.

Fajardo, for his part, insisted the victim was involved in the illegal drug trade.

“Yes, I was administratively relieved due to the heightened and sensationalized killing of pusher Kian delos Santos in Caloocan,” Fajardo remarked. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Christina Mendez, Ghio Ong, Mayen Jaymalin, Edu Punay, Evelyn Macairan, Rainier Allan Ronda

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