Eleventh grader Kian Loyd delos Santos was “intentionally killed” with three “treacherous wounds” to the head and back while lying face down during a police operation in the government’s war against drugs, the Public Attorney’s Office bared yesterday. Michael Varcas

Kian shot in the back, head; cops face murder raps
(The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - Eleventh grader Kian Loyd delos Santos was “intentionally killed” with three “treacherous wounds” to the head and back while lying face down during a police operation in the government’s war against drugs, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) bared yesterday.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said they would file murder charges against the three policemen who killed Delos Santos in an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City last Aug. 16.

Acosta led a fact-finding investigation on the death upon the personal request of the boy’s parents. She said the PAO’s forensic team conducted a re-autopsy of Delos Santos’ remains, which she said had telling initial results.

“Our team found three fatal gunshot wounds and these are treacherous wounds – two in the head and one at the back. We told the family about it, so they’re really convinced in pursuing murder charges,” she told The STAR by phone.

Dr. Erwin Erfe, director of the PAO forensic laboratory, also expressed belief that Kian was intentionally killed by police.

“Masasabi lang namin sa placing ng shots sa body, intentional killing yung impression dun (We can only say that the placing of shots to the body suggests intentional killing, that’s the impression). Because all the shots to the body and head are fatal wounds,” he said in a phone interview.

“The shots were really made on areas of the body where it will hit the vital organs. Intentional killing. Those were meant to kill,” he added.

Erfe also bared that based on investigation, Kian was shot lying face down with the gunman standing over him as showed by the few scratches on his belly.

The first shot was to the left side of Kian’s back. The gunman then fired another shot to the back of the ear.

The trajectories of the first two shots were similar and “very acute.” The third shot “to finish the victim off” was made perpendicular to Kian’s left ear, Erfe added.

But Erfe said the PAO sees no evidence that Kian was beaten up by police as there were no bruises on the boy’s body.

Acosta said the results of their independent autopsy would be consolidated with other pieces of evidence like the CCTV footage and statements of eyewitnesses.

“We will wait for the final results of the exam by our forensic team and consolidate all pieces of evidence before we file the case,” she explained.

The PAO chief personally inspected the crime scene after visiting Kian’s wake and condoling with the family.

Acosta provided legal assistance to Kian’s parents Saldy and Lorenza, who sought her help in their bid for justice.

Several groups have offered to help the Delos Santos family in the case, including De La Salle University law dean Chel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group, but Kian’s parents said they would only trust Acosta.

Acosta vowed to serve justice to the family.

“If our policemen were really liable, we will not tolerate that,” she stressed.

The three police officers behind Kian’s death – Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz – earlier claimed that they killed Kian after he ran and shot at them.

But pieces of evidence, including CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts, debunked such claim and showed that Kian was already in their custody before the killing.

The three policemen and their superior, police community precinct 7 commander Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, have been relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody by the Philippine National Police.

DOJ offers protection to Kian kin, witnesses

Also yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) offered government protection to the family of Kian.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II made the same offer for coverage in the witness protection program (WPP) to the eyewitnesses whose statements disproved the police’s typical storyline that the drug suspect was carrying a gun and had fought back.

“If they apply, we will consider putting them under the WPP,” he said in a text message.

Aguirre made the offer after the family of Delos Santos and at least four witnesses started to receive threats as they pursue justice for Kian’s death. – With Ghio Ong, Rey Galupo

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