By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday stressed that the guilty verdict handed down on the three police officers tagged in the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos is an indication of hope and light in the darkness.
“Despite the gruesome climate of killing and impunity in the country, this verdict sends the message that there is hope and justice. And we will fight for more light and truth until the darkness cannot overcome them,’’ she said
Found guilty of murder were Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz.
They were likewise ordered to pay P345,000 as damage.
The conviction stemmed from the death of delos Santos in August last year.
The three police officers were implicated in the killing of the teenager, who was tagged as a drug suspect, a claim denied by the victim’s family and friends.
Hontiveros maintained that the court’s decision proves that extra-judicial killings (EJKs) under President Duterte are real, committed no less by rogue elements in the police force.
“’How could the number of dead reach such catastrophic levels if these killings did not have a sinister principle and policy behind them?’ she asked.
‘”The President cannot wash his hands of these killings any longer, and his apologists cannot play deaf, dumb and blind in the President’s defense,’’ she pointed out.
‘’Through his words and endless provocation, President Duterte set into motion the killing of thousands. He has smeared the image of the police force. He incited this culture of killing and impunity. He can no longer deny responsibility for inflicting death and violence while he has clearly and repeatedly encouraged them,’’ she stressed.
‘’Lastly, I call on the honest men and women of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help us stop the climate of killing in the country. I know many of you are honorable and patriotic. I know many of you have worked hard to professionalize the police force. And I know many of you are hurting from the actions of a few corrupt and abusive within your ranks. Let us stop this madness. Let Kian be the last name we will see in the list of EJKs under the Duterte administration,’’ she added.