A WITNESS in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos said that contrary to police accounts, the teenager did not fire a weapon before he was shot dead on Aug. 16.
Identified only as “MC,” the witness pointed to Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda as the men she saw with Delos Santos moments before he was shot dead.
“There was no shootout. They [the police] fired on the way down,” she said in Filipino during Tuesday’s Senate hearing of the committee on public safety and dangerous drugs.
She said she was on her way to buy rice and cigarettes when she saw the two police officers dragging away another person that she would later learn was Delos Santos.
She said the policemen were in a hurry and she followed them to where they dragged him near a pig sty where they shot him, about three houses from where she lived.
“I hid behind the gate,” she continued in Filipino. “I saw there were three of them, but I could only identify two of them because the third had his back to me. There’s a light from our house and I could see them. They pushed Kian to the side of the pig sty and I could hear Kian say, ‘Sir, huwag po [Sir, please don’t],” she said.
In her sworn statement, a copy of which was provided to the press, MC said Kian’s face was covered while he was being dragged by the policemen.
“I saw three men. The two were on each side and the third was covering his face with a t-shirt while they were dragging him,” she said.
“There were two more men that seemed to be following them. All of them were in civilian clothes,” she said.
Although they were not in uniform, she recognized the men as police officers who had been arresting drug addicts and pushers in their area.
MC identified Oares as the man who shot Delos Santos.
“After I saw his photo on the news and at the hearing in the Senate, I recognized the face of the man in green who fired his gun at Kian. I knew it was PO3 Arnel Oares,” she said.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa admitted Tuesday that the police operation that led to Kian’s death was overkill.
“Based on forensic report, it was really an overkill,” he said during a separate Senate hearing on the budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, meanwhile, said another witness, identified only as Choleng, has been given provisional coverage under the Witness Protection Program upon the request of the PAO.
“The witness has been provisionally accepted in WPP pending assessment of her application for full coverage. She is now in a safe house,” Aguirre said in a text message.
In her affidavit, Choleng said she saw the police officers fetch Kian from his house and carry him down to a basketball court.
“I saw the policemen carrying Kian. One of them was holding Kian’s neck with his arms,” her affidavit said.
Choleng said she even confronted the policemen after learning that Kian was shot dead.
“Why did you kill the kid? You shouldn’t have killed him. You should have jailed him instead,” she recalled telling the police.
The eyewitness account was supported by CCTV footage in the area operated by the barangay.
A forensic exam conducted by the PAO also indicated that Kian sustained two gunshot wounds in his head and one at the back and that he was shot while lying face down.
The PAO submitted these pieces of evidence to support the murder and torture charges against the policemen, citing the clear presence of the element of treachery.
There are reportedly three other witnesses in Kian’s death under the custody of the Senate.
Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos have earlier filed charges of murder and torture against the four policemen involved in the operation—Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz of Caloocan City police station 7.
The parents have also been placed under provisional coverage of the WPP.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors has already summoned the policemen and set preliminary investigation hearings on Sept. 14 and 21.