Police officers in Philippines convicted of murder in death of teen-aged suspect

World Today

Two of three police officers are escorted out of the courtroom after being found guilty and sentenced up to 40 years without parole for the killing of a student Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. The court found the three police officers guilty on Thursday of killing Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a student they alleged was a drug dealer, in the first known such conviction under the president’s deadly crackdown on drugs. (AP Photo/Gerard Carreon)

Three police officers in the Philippines have been convicted of murdering a 17-year-old boy they believed was a drug dealer. The shooting was part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly crackdown on drugs.

As CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports, it’s the first time any officers have been punished  in connection with the campaign.

Just over a year ago, they were officers of the law now they’ve become convicted criminals. On Thursday, a local court sentenced three members of the Philippine National Police to life.

It took only six months to hear the case against cops who killed Kian delos Santos. That’s rare in the Philippines’ notoriously slow justice system. It is also the first time police fighting President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs have been convicted for killing a drug suspect.

Kian’s death in August last year sparked protests, after security footage of cops dragging a boy believed to be Kian emerged, and an autopsy revealed that the teenager died of three gunshot wounds to the head.

Despite repeatedly pledging to protect police in the frontlines of his war on drugs, Duterte had took a different path in Kian’s case—he promised them justice. For Kian’s family and for the government, it is a promise fulfilled.

“This is a walking testament that there is, in this country as I’ve said, a robust judicial system, a working judicial system,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. “Certainly it is a deterrent to the commission of any crime by men in uniform.”

That is the hope as killings continue unabated in the country. Even though  justice may have been served to one Kian, thousands more are still waiting for the same justice for the untimely deaths of their loved ones.