The case for violation of domicile filed by Kian’s parents against Police Officers 1 Jerwin Cruz and Jeremias Pereda before the Caloocan metropolitan trial court (MTC) indicates that the convicted killers’ legal woes are far from over, according to rights lawyers.
Michael Varcas
Kian delos Santos killers face trespassing raps
Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two police officers found guilty of killing 17-year-old Kian Lloyd delos Santos will face trial for illegally entering his house in an alleged illegal search before dragging him outside and killing him in a major drug sweep last year.

The case for violation of domicile filed by Kian’s parents against Police Officers 1 Jerwin Cruz and Jeremias Pereda before the Caloocan metropolitan trial court (MTC) indicates that the convicted killers’ legal woes are far from over, according to rights lawyers.

They added that it may also be the first high-profile countercharge to test the boundaries of police searches, the illegal conduct of which is another kind of infraction in the war on drugs.

“It’s a small case, but at least it opens a barrage of cases against police and it sets parameters on what a police officer can and cannot do,” lawyer Krissy Conti told The STAR yesterday on the need to hold police accountable for illegal searches.

Human rights lawyer Romel Bagares also said violations of domicile have been a common countercharge against police who enter the houses of drug suspects – mostly poor – even without a search warrant.

Bagares said he once handled a case involving a drug suspect who was arrested after police illegally entered his house in Quezon City. The case was dismissed by the court for failure of police to comply with procedural guidelines.

The violation of domicile is a more severe crime when done at nighttime and could cost a public officer up to six years in prison, the lawyers said.

“It’s important to send a message to the police that they can’t just violate the privacy of the homes of people,” Bagares said.

“A man’s house is his castle. You’re protected from the powers of the state when you’re in your home,” he added, noting that the countercharge of Kian’s parents on the police killers is just a drop in the bucket of several domicile violations by police.

The scheduled arraignment of Kian’s killers was deferred to January next year after the complainants, Kian’s parents Lorenza and Saldy and their counsels from the Department of Justice prosecuting panel, were a no-show at yesterday’s hearing before the Caloocan MTC Branch 51.

Cruz and Pereda were also not represented by their lawyers yesterday, despite notices from the court.

With the arraignment reset to Jan. 9, their subsequent trial for domicile violation may be held next year at the New Bilibid Prison, where they will serve their sentence of reclusion perpetua after being convicted of murder.

Cruz and Pereda were still in their yellow Valenzuela City Jail uniforms for yesterday’s arraignment. They chose to remain silent when asked for comment about President Duterte not having plans of offering them pardon, despite the Chief Executive’s earlier statement he would pardon his police in the conduct of his war on drugs.

Cruz and Pereda were brought to court for arraignment after Caloocan MTC Judge Gloria Santos Jr. found probable cause to try the two for violation of domicile when they allegedly conducted a search on the Delos Santos house without the owners’ consent after accosting Kian.

The domicile charge was refiled before the lower trial court last March, after Caloocan Regional Trial Court Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Azucena, however, found Cruz, Pereda, their superior PO3 Arnel Oares and their asset Renato Loveraz guilty of shooting Kian dead at a muddy riverside on Aug. 16, 2017 during an anti-illegal drug sweep. Loveraz remains at large.

In the domicile charge, Cruz and Pereda were accused of entering the Delos Santos house without consent after Loveraz tagged Delos Santos as a drug runner.

The police officers also allegedly pointed their guns at Kian’s siblings while they were conducting an unwarranted search.

Azucena acquitted the cops of the charge that they planted drugs and a gun on Kian to make it appear he was a drug suspect who engaged them in a shootout. The judge found the prosecution’s evidence as hearsay.

CRIME KIAN LLOYD DELOS SANTOS WAR ON DRUGS
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