Cops convicted in Kian delos Santos murder

Cops convicted in Kian delos Santos murder
Kian delos Santos was slain on the night of Aug. 16, 2017 during a "One Time, Big Time" operation of the Caloocan City police. He was tagged by "Nonong" as a drug runner.
The STAR / Marc Jayson Cayabyab

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2, 11:26 a.m.) — The Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 has convicted three Caloocan cops of murder for the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in August 2017.



Caloocan RTC 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. sentenced PO 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in prison with no possibility of parole.

The court also ordered the three cops to indemnify or compensate the heirs of Delos Santos with the following amount:

  • P100,000 as civil indemnity
  • P100,000 as moral damages
  • P45,000 as actual damages
  • P100,000 as exemplary damages with interest on all damages hereby awarded at the rate of 6% per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid

However, the Caloocan court found Oares, Pereda and Cruz not guilty of planting illegal drugs and a gun “for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubts.”

The court meanwhile “archived” the case against Renato “Nonong” Loveras pending his apprehension. An alias warrant was issued against him.

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, File

Kian’s last words: ‘Sir, huwag po

Delos Santos was slain on the night of Aug. 16, 2017, during a "One Time, Big Time" operation of the Caloocan City police. He was tagged by Nonong as a drug runner.

Police earlier claimed that Delos Santos fought back. A closed-circuit television camera footage, however, showed that Delos Santos was dragged by the police officers towards Tullahan River, where he was later found dead in a kneeling position.

The court said there was no chance for Delos Santos, a minor, to defend himself.

“He was in a sitting position, covering his head with his hands and pleading, ‘sir, huwag po,’” the decision read.

The court said that Pereda dragged Delos Santos to “a pigpen which was very dirty and had a pungent smell.”

“[Delos Santos] was brought to a dark-end river side of the Tullahan River at night where it was dirty and the place had a pungent smell,” the ruling read.

The judge also noted that the trajectory of the bullets showed that the accused were on a higher level position than the victim.

“With the qualifying circumstance of treachery duly established, the conclusion that the circumstance of abuse of superior strength is absorbed therein necessarily follows,” the ruling read.

The court, however, said that there was no other testimonial or documentary evidence, other than a hearsay evidence, on the charge of planting of illegal drugs.

The teenager’s killing, found to be done execution style, sparked public outrage, prompting even vocal supporters of the government’s bloody war on drugs to voice their criticism.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 29, 2018 - 11:15am

The Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 finds three Caloocan cops guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murdering 17-years-old Kian delos Santos last August 2017.

November 29, 2018 - 11:15am

The Human Rights Watch says the court's verdict today finding three police officers guilty in the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos is important because it is the first conviction of state agents implicated in a "drug war" killing.

"This is a triumph of justice and accountability and a warning to members of the Philippine National Police to respect due process and the rights of civilians as they do their job," Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, says in a statement.

However, the rights watchdog is also wary because President Duterte has promised to pardon police officers convicted in "drug war" killings.

"There is reason to suspect that he will keep that promise."

"President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal 'drug war' has not spared children. Many of them died in the hands of the Philippine police during anti-drug operations. They were either targeted or were simply caught in the cross-fire as police officers raided homes and communities. Most of these killings have not been investigated by the authorities." 

November 29, 2018 - 11:08am

Caloocan RTC 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. says murder has no place in the work of a police officer.

"Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement. The public peace is never predicated on the cost of human life."

This is the first conviction involving errant police in the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

November 29, 2018 - 9:09am

PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO1 Jeremias Pereda were sentenced to reclusion perpetua with no possibility of parole.

The court, however, found them not guilty for planting illegal drugs and a gun on the teenager to make it appear Kian fought back during a "One Time Big Time" operation in Baesa, Caloocan last year.

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