Updated | posted September 06, 2017 at 12:01 am
“I will kill people if they destroy our youth.”
This was the warning to drug users and pushers that President Rodrigo Duterte issued when he spoke to a group of Boy Scouts at the Palace in April.
“You drug addicts, since you’ve been identified, avoid the streets, stay in your homes because I will throw you in Manila Bay. I’ll make you fertilizer for the fish,” he said.
The recent body count in the Philippine National Police’s “one-time, big-time” anti-drug operations in Metro Manila and Bulacan—81 dead in just four days—was a grim reminder that this President means what he says.
Unfortunately, some of the casualties in the government’s war on drugs are the same youth that the President has vowed to protect.
Kian delos Santos, 17, a Grade 11 student, was killed Aug. 16, shot dead in a Caloocan City alley after being dragged away from his home.
Police claims that the boy shot first and that they merely returned fire in self defense are contradicted by eyewitnesses, CCTV footage that showed two policemen dragging him to where his body was later found, and autopsy findings that showed Kian could not have fired a gun before he was shot dead while he was face down on the ground.
The gun and drugs “found” on the dead boy were so obviously planted that even PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa urged police to stop planting evidence “because God is watching.”
By all accounts, the police narrative that Kian was a drug courier was also false.
A Grade 11 student at Our Lady of Lourdes College in Valenzuela, Kian had only recently told his mother, who worked in Saudi Arabia, that he wanted to save up to buy a bicycle so he would not have to walk a long distance to school.
His classmates remember him as a cheerful joker. He pawned his phone and sold t-shirts to help a classmate who had been hospitalized, yet could not afford to buy a cheap bicycle that a drug courier most certainly would have had. His dream, ironically, was to be a policeman one day, and his last words to the police who beat him was a plaintive plea he had a test in school the next day.
He died with a gunshot wound to the back and two to the head.
In this manner did the police kill the youth.
How many more Kians are there in the PNP anti-drug campaign? The recent recovery of the body of 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, a former student at the University of the Philippines, in a morgue in Caloocan City indicates there are more.
The Public Attorney’s Office has announced that an autopsy on Arnaiz, a valedictorian in his elementary school, showed the teenager was tortured and shackled before he was shot dead.
Will the President keep his vow and kill the people who kill the youth? Wouldn’t that include the policemen who tortured, shot and killed Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and others like them, whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Who will pay for snuffing out their future?
1. Pro forma Trillanes- Tribune
2. SALN and other issues in impeachment cases
3. Killing the youth – M.Standard
4. MARCOS WEALTH DEAL
5. Gordon’s unethical complaint
6. Judicious exercise of power – Philstar
7. Calm global markets, but risks lurk beneath – Straits Times | Singapore
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