Death of teenager at hands of police sparks outrage at Philippines’ drug war

World Today

Protesters display placards and shout slogans as they march to join the wake for slain Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, who was killed in a shootout with police five days ago Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. The killing of Kian has sparked protests and condemnation from the public. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The death of a 17-year-old has sparked anger in the Philippines. Police said he was killed in a shootout, but witnesses said the teenager was executed. This comes after dozens of drug suspects in Manila and surrounding areas were shot dead by police.

CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports from Manila.

“One Time Big Time”: that’s how the Philippine National Police’s most recent drug raids were dubbed. Hundreds were arrested, and more than 80 were killed just last week. After 32 turned up dead the first night, President Rodrigo Duterte said it was a good thing.

“If we can just kill 32 everyday, then maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” the president said.

The police have said they only kill in self-defense, but the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos has called that into question. Police said Kian engaged in a shootout with them, but security footage shows a boy, believed to be Kian, being dragged by police. Witnesses said he was handed a gun, told to fire it and run. An autopsy released on Monday revealed Kian died of three gunshot wounds to the head.

“He was so focused on his studies. How can they accuse him of being a drug addict? And us. We wouldn’t be selling pens, crackers, and pencils if we were making a lot of money from drugs,” Zaldy delos Santos, Kian’s father, said.

Many who believed Kian was a victim of extrajudicial killing took to the streets. Groups of protesters came to the community where the teenager grew up and unfortunately died. His death and the spate of police killings in the last week sparked outrage throughout the Philippines.

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In the past, Duterte has defended police killings in the course of his war on drugs. In Kian’s case, however, he said there must be an investigation.

“I agree that there should be an investigation. Should the investigation point to the liabilities by one, two or all, there will be a prosecution, and they will have to go to jail,” the president said.

Kian’s family once supported Duterte’s war on drugs. All they want now is for the bloodbath to end.