Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. found PO 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz guilty of murder in the case of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos. 
The STAR/Michael Varcas
On Kian's slay, court tells cops: Murder 'never... a function of law enforcement'
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 29, 2018 - 2:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — A Caloocan court, in the first ever slay case conviction under President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, stressed that murder has “never been a function of law enforcement.”

Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. found PO 3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz guilty of murder in the case of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos

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.

Delos Santos was killed on the night of August 17 during the police’s “One Time Big Time” operation.

The court, in its ruling, said that the 17-year-old boy, who had no opportunity to defend himself, was dragged to a pigpen and later left at the dark-end of Tullahan River.

He plead to the cops: “Sir, huwag po.” Those were his last words.

“The time and place, and manner of attack were deliberately chosen and the accused was immediately cloaked with impunity to ensure its successful execution,” the ruling read.

The Court said that while it “commiserates” with the dangers our policemen face, the use of violence and murder is not justified if there are other ways to perform their duty.

“The court commiserates with our policemen who regularly thrust their loves in zones of danger in order to maintain peace and order and acknowledges the apprehension faced by their families whenever they go on duty,” the ruling read.

“But the use of unnecessary force or wanton violence is not justified when the fulfilment of their duty as law enforcers can [be] effected otherwise.”

“Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement. The public peace is never predicated on the cost of human life,” the ruling penned by Azucena read.

Duterte and the cops

President Rodrigo Duterte was catapulted to presidency on a promise of a ruthless war on illegal drugs and criminality.

In a speech as early as July 2016, a month into his administration, the president told police personnel: “Do your duty, and if in the process you will kill one thousand persons because you were doing your duty, I will protect you. And if they try to impeach me, I will hurry the process and we will go out of the service together.”

Days after Kian was slain, the president told the cops in a speech during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani: “Murder and homicide or whatever... unlawful killing... is not allowed.”

“Wala akong plano na mag-kapote ng abuso. Hindi trabaho ng president yan (I do not intend to cover up abuses. That’s not the job of a president),” Duterte added in a speech on August 27.

Shortly after the conviction of the cops, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement that the court’s ruling “shows that this country has a robust judicial system.”

The International Criminal Court early this year said that it has initiated a preliminary examination into allegations of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

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