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Kian’s alleged drug activities 'validated' through social media posts

Police officers Jeremias Pereda, Jerwin Cruz and Arnel Oares—suspects in the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos—attend the Senate dangerous drugs panel hearing on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. OSMP/Wendell Alinea

MANILA, Philippines – Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, sacked Caloocan City police chief, admitted Thursday that they "validated" the alleged drug involvement of 17-year-old student Kian delos Santos through some social media posts after he was killed.

Facing the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, Bersaluna said they counterchecked the information they got from a certain drug personality they identified only as “Nono” that he used to get illegal drugs from delos Santos.

“After noong incident we have to check the background. Actually we only happen to know the involvement of Kian because of the arrested, alias 'Nono',” Bersaluna said.

READ: PNP: Kian tests negative for gunpowder residue

“The identity of the suspect was not yet revealed. We also based some sa lumalabas na ano (information) doon sa social media na nagsasabi (na drug courier si Kian). “Yun lamang po ang basis naming after na noong operation,” he added.

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Days after Kian was killed, social media users, particularly on Facebook, claimed to be neighbors of the delos Santoses and claimed that the slain Grade 11 boy was a "known" drug courier or runner. These posts were not verified but were shared anyway. 

So-called fake news accounts and blogs also posted links to videos and articles that supposedly proved Kian's drug ties.

This post was disputed by Jem Biscocho, another Facebook user, who said that her photo had been stolen by the poster. Screenshot.
Similar posts were shared on Facebook after Kian's death.

Senator Manny Pacquiao was dismayed by Bersaluna's answer and said that social media posts are not valid sources of information.

“Hindi puwede rito 'yan. Hindi puwedeng sabihin mo na ang basis mo lang ay social media,” the senator, who supports the drug war and the reimposition of the death penalty, said.

Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, who has been relieved as Northern Police District chief pending investigation of Kian's death, insisted that delos Santos was involved in illegal drugs.

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