Cops-suspects may turn state witnesses—PAO

PUBLIC Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta on Saturday raised the possibility of having accused Caloocan cops in the brutal killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos as ‘state witnesses’ should they come clean and help ensure that the boy’s family finds justice. 

“If anyone of those charged would turn into a state witness, it would be good because God could even forgive him—if remorse was there,” Acosta said in a radio interview.

Acosta, who is serving as legal counsel to the Delos Santos family, did not detail however whether she sees a higher official as having ordered the killing. 

To be considered state witnesses, the policemen involved in the killing should be the least guilty, adding that they must testify against their associates or accomplices.

Meanwhile, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard on Saturday urged the Philippines to make the death of Delos Santos the last in the war on drugs.

“My heart-felt condolences to #kian family and to all families victimized by this cruel war. #Makehisdeaththelast #Philippines,” Callamard wrote on her Twitter.

Acosta stressed that being a state witness did not mean the police would be off the hook before the charges could be downgraded. 

Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta
On Friday, Delos Santos’ bereaved kin filed murder and torture complaints against Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz before the Justice Department. 

The family also included the policemen’s supervisor, Caloocan City Precinct 7 commander Chief Insp. Amor Cerillo, and several unidentified individuals in their complaint.

Kian, a Grade 11 student, was killed Aug. 16 in a city-wide anti-drug operation, with the policemen claiming the teenager had fired at them first, prompting them to shoot back and kill the boy.

But CCTV footage that showed Kian being dragged by two policemen, and eyewitnesses contradicted their account, and a police crime laboratory report said Kian had no gunpowder residue on either hand, indicating he had not fired a gun before he died.

The teen succumbed to three gunshot wounds: two in the head and one in his back. 

On Saturday, Delos Santos’ remains were finally laid to rest at the La Loma Cemetery in an apartment-type crypt after more than five hours, as hundreds of people joined the funeral procession. 

The Palace, meanwhile, claimed that the Duterte administration would not tolerate wrongdoings or illegal acts from any law enforcement officer, as they noted the filing of charges against Caloocan policemen. 

“Charges have been filed against the policemen involved in the death of Kian de los Santos,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement read over state radio dzRB.

Abella underscored that President Duterte himself had reminded law enforcement officers that he would  not tolerate their wrongdoings or illegal acts.

“The filing of a criminal complaint underscores this resolve of the government,” Abella said.

“Let us allow the legal process to run its course, and trust the justice system under the Duterte Presidency,” he added.

Topics: Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta , Caloocan cops , Kian delos Santos , State witnesses

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