The Daily Manila Shimbun


Police used social media posts to reinforce delos Santos’ alleged drug links

August 24, 2017

Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, Caloocan City police chief, told a Senate hearing Thursday the 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos’ involvement on illegal drugs was based on posts from social media.

"We also based some which were in social media. There were some saying ( he had drug links)... That is our only basis," said Bersaluna, who was administratively relieved from his post by the Philippine National Police days after the incident.

Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, who was administratively relieved as Northern Police District director, admitted they conducted a background check on the 17-year-old student after he was killed on August 16.

Fajardo said according to their intelligence information, the operating unit did not know the identity of the target but they were informed there are illegal drug deals happening in the area.

Bersaluna said they were informed about the connection of delos Santos to illegal drugs after the arrest on August 15, or one day before his death from one alias Nono.

“Initially when we showed the picture of Kian, he (Nono) said that it is Kian which he always transacts with”, Bersaluna said.

Delos Santos , a Grade 11 student was killed in the Oplan Galugad, an anti-drug operation of the Caloocan City police on August 16.

Chief Inspector Amor  Cerillo, commander of the Police Community Precinct 7 who was also administratively relieved, said  there were illegal drug transactions in the cellphone recovered from delos Santos but it does not state that the boy was directly involved in illegal drugs.

Asked by Senator Grace Poe if police knew who shot delos Santos, Cerillo said :" Based on the ballistic exam, they submitted their firearms. It was the firearm of PO3 (Arnel) Oares that matched the bullet that was recovered from the body of Kian."

PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz, the other two other police officers linked to the death of delos Santos, did not answer who shot Kian based on what they saw but referred to the ballistic result mentioned by Cerillo.

The two police officers initially refused to answer the questions of the committee but agreed to do so after Senate committee chairman Senator Ping Lacson said their action will have a negative effect on the public.  Oares refused to speak throughout the hearing unless he had a lawyer.

Pireda and Cruz admitted they were the ones in the CCTV footage but denied that delos Santos is the one  in the video . "We don't know him (Kian). We just saw him there", Cruz said.

He said the person on the video was their “asset” who has information about a certain Negro which is included in their warrant list.

When asked if they are certain that de los Santos had a gun, Pireda said: “It is dark then. We don’t know…but we heard a shot and we know it is a gunshot”, he said.

In the spot report, the three policemen stated that delos Santos allegedly drew a gun and fired at them which prompted them to fire back.

The PNP Crime Laboratory said Kian had two gunshot wounds in the back of his ear and in his ear unlike the forensic result by the Philippine Attorney’s Office which showed delos Santos having an additional gunshot wound in the back in addition to the other two wounds.

The PNP Crime Laboratory said the 17-year old student was shot while “kneeling and face down" in approximately 60 cm away which was backed by the National Bureau of Investigation personnel.

This result opposed the PAO examination which stated that delos Santos was shot at close distance.

Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre II refused the suggestion of Senator Franklin Drilon to transfer the investigation on the case to the Ombudsman for “impartial” investigation.  Aguirre replied: “I will not”.

He said the Department of Justice will appear they are not capable of investigating the case if he agreed to Drilon.

Drilon said Aguirre is “obviously biased” to the PNP after Aguirre said the case was “blown out of proportion”.

“Blown out of proportion in the media. You thought that it's already big. This is only one from the thousands (of) abuse of the police if it’s true that there are (abuses)”, Aguirre said. Alanna Ambi/DMS