PNP respects court verdict, adds war on drugs to continue
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde on Thursday said they respect the decision of the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court after three police officers were found guilty of murder in the case of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos.
"The Philippine National Police respects the decision of judicial authorities that found three Caloocan City policemen guilty in the celebrated slay case of Kian delos Santos," Albayalde said in a statement.
He said the early resolution of the case is a clear indication "justice works" in the Philippines.
The Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs will continue despite the conviction of the three Caloocan City cops, said Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr in a briefing.
"This may be the case but this case doesn't define the whole picture on the way we wage our campaign against illegal drugs. The pronouncement of the President (Rodrigo Duterte) as well as the policy of the chief of the PNP were very clear: that we should do everything in our campaign against illegal drugs within the bounds of the law while upholding human rights and the rule of the law," Durana said.
RTC Branch 125 Presiding Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. found PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz guilty of murder and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua or a maximum 30 years of imprisonment.
Albayalde said the PNP is ready to help ensure justice will always be served to everyone.
"We recognize though that our justice system serves the interest of both the victim and the accused. Hence despite the conviction, we understand that legal remedies can still be sought by either of the party since the principle of due process works both ways," Albayalde said.
Durana said the organization does not consider what the three cops did as an act of extra-judicial killings, adding there is no such thing as EJK.
"Definitely not. Although they are convicted we cannot say categorically that this is a case of extra-judicial killing. In fact there is no EJK in the Philippines as described or defined in the administrative order by the previous administration. This is not EJK because... any anti-drug operation that resulted to the death of the drug suspects is not included in that Administrative Order," Durana explained in a press briefing.
He said the country has no capital punishment for EJK and the killing of Kian or other alleged drug suspects is not state-sponsored.
"There was never a policy of the PNP that we kill the drug suspect. Unless, otherwise they put up a fight and the lives of our operating personnel are in danger. So by virtue of self defense they have to defend themselves," he added.
Durana said this incident may have a setback on other policemen involved in anti-illegal drug operations but will not affect their morale.
An administrative case was also filed against the three cops before the Ombudsman.
Durana said they are not yet "sure at this point" if they can give support to the accused cops.
Kian is the teenager killed in an anti-illegal drug operations in Caloocan City by PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz after he was allegedly named as one of the drug pushers in their area.
CCTv footages showed Kian was dragged to a dark part of the street before he was shot by the authorities.
"This case can serve as a reminder for the rest of our personnel to be extra diligent in fulfilling the requirements of the law as we serve and protect our citizens. But this will not cause us to waiver a bit in our resolve to rid this society of the menace of illegal drugs," Albaylde said.
"We will be equally resolute in standing behind our front line personnel toiling in this war while fully upholding the constitutional rights of everyone," he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS