LOOK: Hontiveros takes custody of witnesses in Kian delos Santos killing

Witnesses in the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos are now in the protective custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros and may testify in the coming Senate investigation into the recent surge of drug-related killings.
Hontiveros said her office “took custody of the witnesses and began ensuring their safety” as it helped form a legal team to handle the victim’s case.
“The protection provided to the family will be extended to the key witnesses who will help in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos,” she said in a statement.
She said “another institution is also helping” but did not elaborate. 
The senator visited the wake of Delos Santos in Caloocan City and talked with the victim’s parents –Bong and Elsa – who both cried for immediate justice for their son.

Hontiveros said there are threats to Delos Santos’ family.
Following the relief of three policemen, who were involved in the anti-illegal drugs operation that resulted in Kian’s death, and as the clamor for justice began to cascade from all sectors, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde relieved Chief Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, the Caloocan City chief of police Saturday night.
 Prior to his removal, Bersaluna and his men – sacked police community precinct 7 head Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz, and PO3 Arnel Oares – faced off with the Mayor Oscar Malapitan and Bishop Pablo David during an emergency peace and order council meeting.
The policemen told Malapitan that the boy they were dragging into a dark portion of the street, as seen on CCTV footage, was not Kian but another drug suspect, a claim that was belied by several witnesses who said the boy was already in police custody, beaten up, given a gun and forced to run before getting shot.
During the meeting, it also appeared that Oares was the one who shot Kian, claiming the boy had fired at them when he saw policemen coming.
Malapitan, who conducted the meeting to avoid a whitewash, said the CCTV footage and eyewitnesses’ account do not lie. The bishop agreed, saying the claim that a shootout occurred was baseless.
Malapitan vowed to re-impose the curfew to get children off the streets.
As several government agencies are set to investigate the incident, Albayalde said Bersaluna has to be relieved pending the conclusion of all the probes.
“To prevent a whitewash of the investigation of Kian’s death, I deemed it necessary to administratively relieve him so he could not influence the outcome of the probe body,” Albayalde said in an interview.

New witness

Yesterday, the Caloocan City police presented a witness who claimed that Kian was a drug courier and was killed while resisting arrest.

 Chief Inspector Ilustre Mendoza, the acting police chief, said Renato Loveras, who was nabbed a day after Kian was killed, is willing to testify that the boy was “being used to ferry illegal drugs.”
He added that Kian became the subject of police operation after an asset successfully bought P16,000 worth of shabu from him.
Loveras claimed that he gets his “items” (shabu) from a certain Neneng, who ordered Kian on several occasions to deliver it.
However, residents of Barangay 160, where Kian’s family resides, denied that a certain “Neneng” lives in their community.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon lambasted Darwin Cañete of the Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Office for “manifest partiality and personal prejudices” against Delos Santos.
Drilon, a former justice secretary, urged Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to have Cañete relieved.
 “The case is seriously prejudiced by Cañete. His frame of mind and line of reasoning are very disturbing. We must never tolerate such behavior of a fiscal that imperils the administration of justice in the country,” Drilon said.
In a Facebook post, Cañete said it was “too far-fetched” to declare Kian innocent.
“I am not saying they did not kill the boy. But let’s weigh the evidence. You mean the police would go all the way to Sta. Quiteria just to kill an innocent teenager? Maybe, just maybe, if the police really killed the boy as they claim, he could be involved,” Cañete said.

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