On the conviction of three police officers in the killing of Kian delos Santos

Karapatan welcomes the conviction of three police officers in the killing of Kian delos Santos in August 2017. We lament, though, that Police Station Commander Amor Cerillo and Caloocan City Police Chief Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna have not been charged for condoning and orchestrating murders done in similar police operations which resulted in the killing of Delos Santos and many others. They, too, should unequivocally be held accountable. We are enraged that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, then Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa and several other high officials who ordered, encouraged, endorsed and even mandated the police to commit such dastardly crimes have remained unpunished. 

The local court’s guilty verdict on the three policemen may be considered a small victory in the quest for justice for victims of extrajudicial killings. It is triumph of truth over lies spewed by the police, considering that there is very clear evidence of the commission of the crime. It is a victory of all victims of extrajudicial killings and the Filipino people, in our efforts to hold accountable all officers of the law who committed such offenses. It is a victory that cannot be claimed by the current administration, to perpetuate their big fat lie that the justice system works in the Philippines, considering its blood-soaked and grime-laden human rights record. Moreover, this decision is a strong indication of the irregularities and murders committed in line with Duterte's ineffective and sham war on drugs campaign. 

However, there are hundreds and thousands of victims of this murderous regime who are still crying out for justice. The case of Kian should be an example to many to persevere in the struggle for genuine justice. It is likewise a message and a warning to all those in power that the people will never tire in bringing all murderers, thieves and criminals in government to justice.