Kian delos Santos remembered by Caloocan diocese
Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Diocese of Caloocan celebrated the feast of its patron saint San Roque on Friday, which is also the second death anniversary of extrajudicial killing victim Kian delos Santos.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said he is saddened that the Feast of San Roque coincided with the death of the 17-year-old, who was killed by three Caloocan police officers in a drug sweep on Aug. 16, 2017.

A stone marker was built in San Roque Parish last year to commemorate Kian’s first death anniversary.

“Kian delos Santos died on the feast day of our patron saint. That speaks a lot for me. That was what really pushed me to get involved in the issue,” the bishop, who was charged by police of inciting sedition, said in an interview.

David said it was his “spiritual and moral stand as a pastor” to help victims of summary killings in Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, cities hit hard in the war on drugs.

During his homily on the patron saint’s feast on Friday, David said he was charged with sedition for his critical stance on the drug war since he fought for justice for Kian.

“But should we stop because of that? If we back off now, we will put ourselves to shame before San Roque,” David added.

Staff Sgt. Arnel Oares and Patrolmen Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz are each serving a life sentence at the New Bilibid Prison for Kian’s murder.

The murder case against Renato Loveraz, the informant who identified Kian to the police officers, was provisionally dismissed because the prosecution failed to locate the eyewitness to the killing. The asset remains detained on separate drug charges.

Two years since the operation, three police officials relieved for Kian’s death have returned to top posts. Then Northern Police District director Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo is now Highway Patrol Group chief, then Caloocan police chief Col. Chito Bersaluna is now Bulacan police director, while then precinct commander Maj. Amor Cerillo is now Valenzuela police Station Investigation Division and Management Branch chief.

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