It’s easy to understand why people are outraged by the killing of Kian Delos Santos, a 17-year old boy from Caloocan who was gunned down by policemen on the night of August 16, 2017.
CCTV footage shows Kian being grabbed from the streets near his home, and dragged into a dark alley.
Out of sight of the camera, eyewitnesses describe what happened next. Kian was beaten. He was crying, pleading. A gun was forced on his hands, and he was told to run for his life. He didn’t get far. He wasn’t meant to.
Given what we know, there seems little doubt on people’s minds on who to blame for this tragedy. The police have already been condemned by the public because of the damning images they saw on television. And President Duterte has been condemned by his critics because, well, that’s what they do.
But looking at the larger picture, and taking into consideration the available forensic evidence, there may be more and bigger villains lurking on the fringes of this tragedy.
Incriminating text messages exchanged between Kian and another person of interest, as well as the twenty thousand pesos worth of shabu found tucked in his waistband indicates that he may not have been as innocent as people initially thought he was. And while this does not in any way merit a summary execution, it may explain why Kian was targeted in the first pace.
More disturbingly, it also points to the possibility that Kian was more of a victim than anyone thought at first. Because other than those who shot and killed him, Kian was also a victim of the person who used him to sell illegal drugs. Someone who is possibly close to him, and had his complete trust.
It doesn’t make sense for a teenager like Kian to be dealing with so much contraband on his own. And the most likely scenario being that he was used to front for someone else.
If this is proven to be true, then Kian’s death opens up a bigger debate. Not just about the actions of the police that night, but about a justice system that enables criminals to deliberately put someone like Kian in harm’s way because they know that his age and Kiko Pangilinan’s idiotic Juvenile Justice Law would allow them to escape punishment.
Despite data showing how Pangilinan’s law is being abused by criminals as a way to move with impunity around our justice system, members of the opposition Liberal Party continue to resist efforts to amend the law and close the gap.
In 2011, the trio of Edwin Lacierda, Leila de Lima, and Dinky Soliman successfully argued against fixing the law and closing the loopholes by spouting motherhood statements such as the promotion of a “child-sensitive justice system (that) protects the physical and psychological well-being of children.”
High sounding ideals that earned them praise from bleeding hearts all over the world, while allowing syndicates in the Philippines to continue to recruit young people like Kian into their fold.
On the night of August 16, 2017 Kian delos Santos died in a dark alley in Caloocan. The immediate cause of his death were the shots fired by the police for which they must be investigated, and if there is cause, vigorously prosecuted.
But no less fatal were the actions of those who used him as a pawn in their criminal activities, and the inaction of politicians like Pangilinan and his liberal party cronies who corrupted our justice system with their idiocy and continues to allow our youth to fall between the cracks. And they too must be held accountable.