PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured the family of slain 17-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos that justice will be served following his killing at the hands of rogue Caloocan cops.
“He promised us that he would help solve the case because anyone who is guilty should be punished,” said Lorenza delos Santos, Kian’s mother, speaking in Filipino.
Lorenza and her husband Saldy had lunch with the President at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang Park after he arrived from an event in San Fernando, Pampanga, past 1 p.m.
Duterte assured the parents of Kian that no one will meddle in the case, noting that only the courts and the prosecutor will handle it.
At the same time, Duterte vowed there would be no cover-up of abuses committed under his administration.
“I don’t cover up abuses. That’s not the work of the President,” Duterte told Kian’s parents. “Our work is to protect the people.”
The meeting, requested by the Delos Santoses, lasted more than an hour.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go accompanied the President during the meeting.
Dante Jimenez and Annie Jereza of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Public Attorney’s Office Chief Persida Acosta were also present during the meeting.
Malacañang said the filing of a criminal complaint against the Caloocan policemen “underscores this resolve of the government.”
Kian was killed on Aug.t 16 during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City conducted by the Philippine National Police. The policemen said Kian was a drug courier who tried to run then shot at them, prompting them to shoot back.
The claim, however, was contradicted by CCTV footage, eyewitnesses and autopsy findings that Kian had no gunpowder residue in either hand, indicating he did not shoot at the police.
Lorenza said politicians should stop trying to ride on the case.
“All we want is justice for the death of our son,” she said in Filipino. “That’s all.”
Malacañang had earlier tried to play down the case, but later said the law should be allowed to run its course.
Also on Monday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said student leaders who asked him to inhibit himself in the Kian delos Santos case were “misinformed.”
“These so called student leaders are misinformed or ignorant of our procedures at the DoJ. I will not even touch that case,” Aguirre said in a text message.
Student leaders from various organizations and schools said Aguirre should inhibit himself from Kian’s case following his biased pronouncements against Kian.
The students said they fear that with Aguirre on the frontline, the case against Kian could be whitewashed.
But Aguirres said he had not handled a single case since he assumed office at the Department of Justice last year.
“At the moment, the prosecutors at the National Prosecution Service will handle it. Even on appeal, I will not handle the case. The cases on appeal are assigned to my five undersecretaries. They will not be brought to me for any action before filing in court, or their dismissal,” Aguirre said.
Kian’s family through the Public Attorneys’ Office filed murder and torture complaints against Caloocan City Station 7 Police Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz and several John Does.
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