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    VP Leni condoles with family of 17-year-old killed in anti-drug ops, urges ‘independent probe’ on incident

    Office of the Vice President August 20, 2017

    While expressing her profoundest sympathies to the young man’s bereaved family, Vice President Leni Robredo underscored her condemnation of the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos, the 17-year-old student shot dead in police anti-drug operations in Caloocan City last week.

    VP Leni went straight to Kian’s wake after returning from Naga City, early Sunday. The wake was held at Libis Baesa, Barangay 160, Caloocan. There, VP Leni was able to meet and condole with Kian’s family, especially his parents, Zaldy, who runs a sari-sari store, and Lorenzana, an overseas Filipino worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who had rushed home following the news of her son’s death.

    “Nakakalungkot ito. Ngayon, may mukha ito, itong si Kian. Parang sumasagi sa isip natin, ilan na ba iyong Kian na dumaan? Ilan pa ba iyong Kian na mangyayari?” she said in her weekly radio show, Biserbisyong Leni, on RMN. “Kaya tayo naman, kapag ganito, tingin ko obligasyon natin ipahayag iyong ating pagkamuhi sa ganitong klaseng pangyayari.”

    VP Leni said she empathizes, in particular, with the parents, since she is a mother herself, with one of her daughters the same age as Kian.

    “Ako, naramdaman ko kung papaano mawalan ng mahal sa buhay. Napakahirap talaga, parang pinapatay ka din. Pero hindi ko ma-imagine na— Mahirap nang mawalan ng asawa, pero sigurado ako mas mahirap mawalan ng anak. Kasi ito, iniluwal mo, ikaw iyong nag-asikaso. Tapos nakakaawa kasi pareho iyong tatay saka iyong nanay, parang bine-blame iyong sarili nila,” she said.

    She also noted how Kian’s family, as well as their neighbors, have talked about how good the young man was. His father, in particular, was emotional since Kian helped run their small sari-sari store, she added.

    “Nakakaawa kasi makikita mo, isa itong ordinaryong pamilya, katulad ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino na talagang naghihikahos na pagdaan iyong lahat na kahirapan mapag-aral lang iyong mga anak,” she said, adding that the Office of the Vice President has offered to assist the family with their needs.

    “Sabi naman namin, kung anong desisyon nila at kung anong tulong na puwede naming igawad, tutulong tayo. Naiintindihan natin [na] talagang matindi iyong paghihinagpis ng mga magulang, at hindi naiintindihan kung bakit kailangang mangyari iyon sa anak nila,” she added.

    VP Leni was accompanied in the said visit by lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, national chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a leading national organization of human rights lawyers.

    Kian’s father took the Vice President through the alleyway where his son was dragged by policemen, as seen in the barangay’s CCTV footage, to the spot where he was killed.

    VP Leni said an “independent” investigation must be conducted on the incident, as the CCTV footage and accounts from neighbors seemingly contradict the claims of the police.

    “[I]yong atin lang ninanais, sana magkaroon naman ng independent na imbestigasyon, kasi lalong— Alam mo iyon? Kapag hindi kampante iyong magulang sa klase ng imbestigasyon, hindi nabibigyan ng parang closure iyong kaso, at baka patuloy na nangyayari iyong ganitong nangyari kay Kian,” she said.

    The Vice President also reiterated her call for the administration to rethink its approach towards its fight against illegal drugs.

    “Sang-ayon naman tayo na malaki talaga iyong suliranin sa ilegal na droga, pero baka iyong pamamaraan, mayroong mas mabuti, na hindi iyong karapatang pantao na iyong nakasalalay, iyong mga inosente nabibiktima,” she said. “Kaya tingin ko nararapat lamang na kapag may mga pang-aabuso na ganito, talagang tayo ay tumulong, para hindi na maulit pa sa darating na panahon.”

    Posted in Press Releases on Aug 20, 2017