The death of Kian Loyd delos Santos is not about President Duterte or Ronald dela Rosa or Benigno Aquino III or Chito Gascon or Risa Hontiveros.
Most certainly it is not about Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who this week attempted—but failed —to play down the public outrage over the death of the 17-year-old boy killed by policemen on Aug. 16.
Aguirre said the witnesses who gave statements on what they saw during the alleged police operations that night had been polluted, or brainwashed by Senator Hontiveros, whom he tagged as the witnesses’ handler.
But the witnesses could only corroborate the physical evidence culled from the boy’s autopsy and from footage from the barangay CCTV.
For example, experts established that the boy was kneeling and bent on the ground when he was killed. This, as well as the location of the gunshot wounds make it difficult to imagine that Kian resisted arrest or try to attack the cops who were pursuing him.
Police said the boy and his father were known drug suspects even as they only came out with this statement after the killing. Pressed for the source of this intelligence, the not-so-intelligent chief of the Caloocan police said: “social media.”
It is a puzzle why Aguirre, equally indiscriminate in consuming what he sees on social media, remains the top Justice executive after he alleged that leaders of the opposition were in Marawi City, meeting with some of the most prominent families there, a few days before the siege broke out in May. The statement reeked of innuendo and malicious attribution. It was later on proven that the photo that Aguirre released was from another occasion completely unrelated to the Marawi crisis.
Kian’s death is about him and all the others who have been killed in the name of the so-called war against drugs. It is about a government whose mandate is to protect the citizenry and make us all feel safe, but who in blind and zealous pursuit of a campaign that respects neither reason nor life makes us all feel insecure, even terrified, instead.
We struggle to make sense why clowns like the Justice secretary continue to be allowed to speak on matters whose gravity far outweighs their comprehension. In our valiant effort to get to the bottom of what really happened to the boy and to all others whose lives were snuffed out senselessly, voices like Aguirre’s merely add to the noise.