THE family of slain student Kian Loyd delos Santos has refused to cooperate with the parallel investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Sunday.
Aguirre said the NBI forensic team went to Kian’s wake last week to conduct an autopsy, which was needed to determine how many gunshot wounds he suffered, where he was shot and how near the shooters were to him.
“The NBI was not able to conduct its own autopsy because the parents refused to cooperate for reason we do not know,” Aguirre said.
Had the NBI team been allowed to do the forensic examination, they could have settled the discrepancies in the results of two earlier autopsies done by the Public Attorney’s Office, which represents the Delos Santoses, and the Philippine National Police.
Nonetheless, the Justice secretary said the NBI would pursue its probe despite the lack of cooperation from the Delos Santos family.
He said NBI investigators could still come up with a report based on other pieces of evidence, including testimonies of witnesses and the CCTV footage from the barangay.
Aguirre said the filing of the murder and torture charges by the parents of Kian before the Department of Justice last Friday would not affect the NBI probe.
Aguirre also reiterated his call on Senator Risa Hontiveros to turn over to the witnesses protection program the three witnesses under her custody.
“It is better that the witnesses be turned over to the WPP, a government agency that is tasked and properly trained to give security, housing, economic and emotional protection to the witnesses and even members of their family, if necessary,” he said.
Aguirre also again expressed reservations on the credibility of the witnesses under Hontiveros’ custody.
“The credibility of the witnesses under Senator Hontiveros, who is perceived as biased and partial, might have been affected or undermined because children witnesses are susceptible to the suggestion of the elders,” he said.
The PAO earlier called on Hontiveros to turn over the witnesses to the WPP after the parents of the two minors withdrew their consent for the senator’s custody.
Asked if the senator could be held liable for kidnapping and obstruction of justice for her refusal to turn over the minor witnesses, Aguirre declined to comment.
“I don’t want to issue any opinion on the matter because it might be construed as prejudging the case if one would be filed later before the DoJ,” he said.
On Friday, the parents of Kian filed murder and torture charges against Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz of Caloocan City police station 7.
Cerillo and the three policemen have aleady been relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody.
The PAO, meanwhile, said it will examine the cellphone of one of their witnesses to the Aug. 16 killing of Delos Santos. A recording on the phone could prove that the witness was at the scene and saw the crime being committed, PAO chief Persida Acost said.
Acosta earlier said that their case against the three suspected Caloocan policemen is strong, adding that the PAO has six witnesses in its custody.
The National Police Commission, meanwhile, said officials in charge of the policemen tagged in the killing of Kian could be held liable by virtue of command responsibility.
Napolcom vice chairman and executive officer Rogelio Casurao told radio dzMM that they have already begun investigating the incident and expect to wrap up the probe within 60 days.
The Palace on Sunday urged the public to let the justice system take its course.
“Kian de los Santos has been laid to rest. A criminal complaint against the Caloocan policemen involved in the incident has already been filed,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a statement. “[An] nvestigation is now in the process. Let us allow the law to take its due course,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
Calls for justice and an end to all extrajudicial killings marked Kian’s burial at the La Loma Cemetery in Caloocan City on Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds of people joined Kian’s funeral procession, which passed by Caloocan City Police Community Precinct 7, where policemen who killed Delos Santos in an anti-drug operation on Aug. 16 were assigned.
Kian is one of the dozens killed in a series of anti-narcotic operations in Metro Manila and Bulacan two weeks ago.
Senator JV Ejercito said Kian’s death at the hands of Caloocan police should be beyond politics.
In a text message, Ejercito said the killing of Kian is about humanity and the best way to give justice to the slain teenager. With Bill Casas and Macon Ramos-Araneta
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