Malacañang on Saturday was quick to clear cops of any responsibility on the death of Michael Siaron, the man in a Pieta-like picture killed last year, claiming that the “real” assailant was a member of a drug syndicate.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, however, did not say who were the people involved.
He only vowed to make the perpetrators accountable.
“Authorities have put closure on the death of Michael Siaron, whose photo was compared to the Pieta image, after ballistics examination from a recovered firearm revealed that he was killed by a member of a syndicate also involved in the illegal drug trade,” Abella said.
Instead, he proceeded at absolving cops from criticisms at the President’s bloody drug war, where an estimated 7,000 people were killed since the President took office.
“The Siaron case verifies what government has said from the start of the campaign against illegal drugs—many of these killings were perpetrated by those involved in drug operations as well; drug traffickers and pushers eliminating each other,” he said.
“The relentless attribution of such killings to police operations was both premature and unfair to law abiding enforcement officers who risk life and limb to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in our society.”
Siaron, 30, was shot dead by two unidentified men riding tandem on a motorcycle while walking along Edsa near the Rotonda in Pasay City last July 23, 2016 at around 12:45 a.m.
Police said Siaron, allegedly a drug pusher, sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the body. The suspects, who were both wearing full-face helmets, sped away towards Edsa after the shooting.
Police said the suspects also dropped a note near Siaron’s body. The note read: “Pusher ako, wag tularan.”
Siaron was photographed being cradled by partner Jennilyn Olayres, like Mary cradling the body of Jesus in Michelangelo’s masterpiece Pieta.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier claimed in an Al Jazeera interview that all 3,800 Filipinos killed in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs were drug dealers.
In an Al Jazeera interview Oct. 6, British journalist Mehdi Hasan cited PNP figures that said 3,850 Filipinos died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to Sept. 16, 2017.
“So every single one of the 3 and a half thousand people who were killed was a drug dealer?” Hasan asked Cayetano.
“Yes,” the foreign secretary answered.
The PNP itself does not label them as proven drug dealers, only as suspects.
In Philippine law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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