Top forensic expert calls autopsy on Kian ‘improper’

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Top forensic expert calls autopsy on Kian âimproperâ
This November 29, 2018 photo shows the apartment tomb of Kian Delos Santos, a teenager killed in an anti-drug police operation in Caloocan City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s leading forensic pathologist yesterday said there were irregularities in the autopsy done by police on Kian delos Santos, calling it an “autop-silip” to make it appear that there was a forensic examination on the body.

Dr. Raquel Fortun presented the second part of her postmortem examination into drug war victims, including 17-year-old Kian whose case remains one of few convictions of killings done by rogue police officers in the previous administration’s war on drugs.

The police autopsy conducted by Northern Police District medicolegal officer Jocelyn Padilla Cruz looked at the exit and entry wounds in Kian’s head and made it appear that there was an extensive autopsy, when his ribs were not even cut open, Fortun said of her examination on the teenager’s remains.

Delos Santos’ body was exhumed a day before his death anniversary last year to undergo a third autopsy with Fortun.

“You would think it’s an autopsy, but only his skin was sliced. I see this a lot. How did you come to your findings without opening the body?” Fortun said in her briefing in Quezon City.

The conviction of three former Caloocan police officers by the Caloocan Regional Trial Court was cited by the Philippine government as evidence that the justice system in the country is working, countering the International Criminal Court’s investigation for crimes against humanity over the previous administration’s drug war.

But Fortun said “there was no forensic science” involved in the evidence presented in court which relied heavily on testimonial and circumstantial evidence, Fortun said.

As to the second autopsy done by the Public Attorney’s Office, Fortun called it a “red flag” as it was conducted at the house of Kian’s family, and that PAO doctors failed to see a “connection” between the entry and exit wounds in Kian’s head that killed him.

Only after five years since Kian’s death, a bullet was found in his exhumed remains, which would have helped in the investigation early on, Fortun said. The bullet could have been traced to a firearm, but a fire hit the Caloocan police station in 2017 months after Kian’s death, she added.

Pictures on Kian’s body also showed that the gun was fired at close range into his ear, belying the police claim that the teenager fought back. His body was also seen in a fetal position next to a pigsty in Baesa, Caloocan. His position indicates that he was in a defensive position.

In an ambush interview, Fortun described the police forensic examination on Kian as “autop-silip,” a play on autopsy and the Filipino word for peeping or furtively looking at someone.

The cut done by the medicolegal officer was a mere incision down the chest, and not a Y-cut shape all the way to the shoulder blades which was the proper way to do it, Fortun said. “These are those instances that they just make an incision without looking at the internal organs.”


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with