By Jel Santos
After the death of Kian Delos Santos, the deaths caused by police operations and vigilante killings in Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela) area has suddenly stopped.
On the night of August 16, the 17-year-old Grade 11 student, who dreamed of becoming a policeman, was gunned down by cops during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Barangay 160, Caloocan City.
The police claimed Delos Santos was a drug runner and was killed after he allegedly resisted arrest. But Barangay 160 officials said Delos Santos was not on their drug watchlist.
On a closed-circuit television footage, the student was seen being manhanled by “policemen.” Witnesses said it was Delos Santos who was being dragged, punched and slapped by ununiformed cops from the Police Community Precinct 7 in Barangay 160, Caloocan.
Delos Santos’ death was condemned by various groups and personalities. Many people are calling for justice after learning what happened to the teenager.
On Monday no death was reported in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (Camanava). There were only petty crimes recorded in Camanava — unlike before that almost every day, a drug suspect was being killed.
Caloocan Diocese Bishop Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David said “there has been a lull in the killings through ‘legitimate police operations’ after the death of Kian Delos Santos stirred up a nationwide uproar.”
“Strangely though, there’s also been a lull in the killings by masked killers. Which makes one wonder: are the two groups somehow working for the same agency — but on different levels?,” he said.
“The police have boundaries; the masked killers have no boundaries. But they kill the same people: drug suspects in their watchlist,” the bishop added.
David said drug users must be rehabilitated and not killed, adding that they support the bloodless war on drugs.
The bishop and priests under him are very active in helping drug users rehabilitate. The Diocese of Caloocan has been coordinating with policemen and the local government to fight illegal drugs by rehabilitating drug personalities.
“Drug users must not be killed, they must be rehabilitated because they are sick. We, in the church, are also against illegal drugs,” he said.
Delos Santos was laid to rest at La Loma Cemetery on Saturday. About one thousand people, who call for halt in the bloody war on drugs, joined the funeral march as they chant and held placards to denounce extrajudicial killings.
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