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Senate majority calls for probe on teener’s death in Caloocan drug ops

MANILA -- The Senate majority bloc on Sunday night released a resolution condemning and calling for a probe on the death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old student who was killed during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.

It is titled a Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to condemn the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos and to direct the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to determine the accountability of the Philippine National Police in the conduct of the campaign against illegal drugs that may have resulted in unnecessary and unjustified deaths and/or killings.

The resolution was signed by 14 out of 17 senators belonging to the majority bloc namely Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Majority bloc senators Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, and Manny Pacquiao have yet to sign the resolution.

The resolution cited the need to strengthen institutions that keep the society safe under the rule of law to eradicate the culture of impunity.

It also stated that government institutions should be fully empowered to be held accountable to the public in the conduct of the illegal drugs campaign.

In a radio interview, Lacson, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said the probe would be referred to the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, which he chairs.

Lacson also admitted that although he would have wanted to wait until results of the investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and PNP-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) came out, he had to give in to the sentiment of the majority.

He said he felt it was about time for the PNP to go back to the drawing board and reassess the aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

The senator pointed out it was too early to conclude that the drug-related killings were state-sponsored but vowed to defend the committee report if evidence showed that they were indeed state-sponsored killings.

Kung sakaling ganoon ako mismo bilang chairman ng public order, 'pag gumawa ako ng committee report, talagang pangangatawanan ko 'yan, ide-defend ko 'yan maski may manakot o mag-pressure na sino man, paninindigan ko ang committee report (If that's what evidence shows then I, as chairman of the committee, would defend it even if I am threatened or pressured), Lacson said.

At 'di namin gagawin 'yan kung 'di napakalinaw ng ebidensya o proof na talagang state-sponsored ang nangyayaring patayan (And we wouldn't do that if we did not have clear evidence or proof that the killings are state-sponsored), he added.

He said he found the spate of killings worrisome but could not determine why it seemed like President Rodrigo Duterte was passive on PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from China which slipped under the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last May.

Kung titingnan natin sa BOC, 2 yan, droga at corruption. Bakit parang kulang ang galit niya ngayon? (If we look at the BOC, they are involved in drugs and corruption. Why does it seem like he isn't that angry?), Lacson said, referring to the President.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, on the other hand on Sunday said that witnesses in the killing of Delos Santos are now under her protective custody.

My office took custody of the witnesses and began ensuring their safety, Hontiveros said in a statement.

Hontiveros said that another institution is helping but did not give further details.

She added that the protection provided to the family will be extended to the key witnesses who will help in bringing to justice Delos Santos' perpetrators.

In a radio interview, she said that her primary concern was to ensure the safety and protection of Delos Santos' family members and witnesses that may help bring justice to his death.

Hontiveros recently attended Delos Santos' wake in Caloocan City and got to speak to his parents. Aside from Hontiveros, Vice President Leni Robredo also visited Delos Santos' wake.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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