Press Release
August 22, 2017


Mr. President, I rise on a point of personal and collective privilege.

Alam na po natin lahat ang kwento ni Kian de los Santos. But maybe the facts bear repeating. On August 17, late at night, a seventeen-year-old was killed as part of last week's bloody rampage, where more than 90 people in Bulacan, Caloocan and Manila have been felled by elements of the police force as part of the War on Drugs. Kian de los Santos, a grade 11 student, would just have been part of the statistics, had it not been for CCTV footage showing that Kian was being bodily carried by two men, and eyewitness accounts saying that at no point did he try to shoot at those apprehending him. In fact, he was begging for his life: "tama na, tama na, may exam ako bukas" being his last words. Sa madaling salita, malinaw ang ebidensya na hindi siya nanlaban. His lifeless body was shown in fetal position, and in a later autopsy conducted by the Public Attorney's Office, it was found that he sustained three fatal wounds, one of which was identified to be a treacherous wound.

I and my staff went to visit the wake of Kian and to pay our respects. It was there that the family discussed with me their security and practical concerns, and the legal steps that they wanted to take. When my office took custody of the witnesses, it was in response to the request of these witnesses and their families, and even the family of Kian, to protect them from the threats that they have been receiving. Sa senate hearing sa Huwebes, titiyakin ko ang pagdalo ng mga testigo at ang hihilingin ko din sa aking mga kasama ang na sila ay protektahan ng maigi. The primary priority of my office is the protection of these witnesses and their testimony, and to do what we can from our end to secure justice for a seventeen-year-old boy felled by agents of the state.

Yesterday, President Duterte broke his silence on the Kian de los Santos issue by vowing that police officers behind the killing will be thrown in jail. In the same breath, he said that he cannot put so many pressures on the police and he cannot condemn them without validation.

Naalala ko ang pamagat ng paborito kong pelikula ni Lino Brocka, "tinimbang ka ngunit kulang."

While we welcome the commitment of the President to allow the investigation of the policemen involved in the murder of Kian de los Santos, this does not, this CANNOT, make us forget his other words that have inspired, abetted and condoned the senseless killings in the name of the War on Drugs.

Paano pa niya sasabihin na bibigyan niya ng independyenteng imbestigasyon ang pagkamatay ni Kian, pagkatapos iutos ng pangulo ang reinstatement at hayaan ang promotion ni Police Superintendent Marvin Marcos, na sinasabing nanguna sa extrajudicial killing ni Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr.,

Paano natin siya paniniwalaan pagkatapos ikatuwa ng pangulo ang malaking bilang ng mga taong napaslang sa one-time, big-time operation ng PNP, kung saan napaslang si Kian de los Santos, at sinabi pa ng Malacanang na "there is rhyme and reason in the police operations";

Paano natin mahahanapan ng "good faith" ang kanyang pananalita, kung noong Disyembre 2016 lang, sinabi ng Presidente na "o pag walang baril, bigyan ng baril." Kung tama ang mga testigo, ganyan na ganyan ang ginawa kay Kian.

The President's hands are stained by the blood of Kian, and the blood of the 12,000 murdered in the name of his bloody War on drugs. He inspired this culture of impunity and killing. He reveled in the deaths of drug addicts, while at the same time turning a blind eye on the big drug lords close to him and his family.

And to all Filipinos who denied the existence of extrajudicial killings for whatever reason - maybe because of your support for this President, your disgust for drugs and crime, your belief that iron fists are necessary for 'real change' - maybe some reflection is in order. Baka dapat natin pagnilayan kung ano ang naging papel natin at nahantong tayo sa ganito. You were shocked at the death of Kian because you could not ignore the CCTV footage. You had no choice but to confront his death because his narrative was compelling - mabait na bata, wala sa drug list, mag-eexam sa susunod na araw. You felt stirred into action because you could no longer ignore the growing outrage from a country you had thought had grown callous to death. But Kian was not the first. That there were thousands o deaths before him and that you allowed it to happen by denying EJKs is something you have to live with.

But Kian can be the last, or one of the last. Maari pa natin pigilan ang mga susunod na Kian. O ang mga susunod na Danica Garcia, Angel Fernandez, Rowena Tiamson. Para sa kanilang sinabing nanlaban, manlaban tayo. For them, we must keep on fighting.

Thank you very much.

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