Duterte: No pardon for killers of Kian delos Santos

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte declared Monday that there will be no pardon for the policemen convicted for the killing of teenager Kian delos Santos, saying his protection of law enforcers does not cover those who commit murder. 

The Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 has found the three policemen tagged in the killing of delos Santos guilty and has sentenced them to up to 40 years in prison with no possibility of parole.

RELATED: Cops convicted in Kian delos Santos murder

The court found PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz guilty of killing the 17-year-old student during an anti-drug operation in Baesa, Caloocan City on Aug. 16, 2017.

The police previously claimed delos Santos had fought it out with arresting officers, prompting them to shoot him. But closed-circuit television camera footage showed the teenager was dragged to the Tullahan River, where he was found dead. 

Some sectors fear that Duterte will pardon the three policemen, noting that the president had vowed to protect law enforcers involved in his war on illegal drugs. But Duterte said he would not defend those who violated the law. 

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“Of course not. Maybe, one million years from now. One billion years, it would be okay. What I said was I will defend to death my soldier and my policemen if they commit some acts which would be considered criminal but done in the performance of their duties, I won’t leave them otherwise my soldiers and policemen would kill me,” Duterte said in a chance interview in Malacañang. 

“But for you to murder, that’s not covered (by the protection). There’s only one way that it can happen. That you are in the performance of your duty, or duty 
connected then there is an event there that is happening and your life is in danger then you can kill your opponent, that is what the law says.”

Duterte has previously said delos Santos’ murder was not “in the performance of duty” and that he never said police should shoot suspects who are already on their knees.

The Caloocan court noted in its decision that delos Santos had either been sitting or kneeling when he was shot in the head and back.

RELATED: Duterte: I never said cops should shoot suspects on their knees

Malacañang has described the guilty verdict as a “triumph of justice,” saying the ruling is a proof that the justice system in the Philippines is working.

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