Kian was a just a regular kid, neighbors say

Residents of Barangay 160 in Caloocan City rejected accusations by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Kian Loyd Delos Santos was a drug runner who walked around the community with a .45 caliber pistol on his waistband.

Joining a condemnation rally Monday, Kian’s neighbors said they could never believe the 17-year old victim was capable of being a drug courier who deserved the violent death from the police.

“Manininda lang ng chichiria, ginawa na nilang tulak,” neighbor and friend “Alex” (not his real name) said. (He was a simple snacks vendor, but they made him into narcotics courier.)

Delos Santos was killed Wednesday night in an alley a few blocks from his home by police officers assigned to the nearby PNP-Caloocan Precinct 7.

“Kilala ko si Kian mula ng bata pa kami. Ayan o, magkatabi lang ang bahay namin. Kabiruan ko yan. Alam ko kung may kalokohan ‘yan. Wala talaga,” Alex said. (I knew Kian since we were younger. We are neighbors. We kidded each other a lot. I would know if he did something wrong. I knew of nothing.)

Maxima (not her real name), another neighbor, described the victim to be an ordinary kid who had lots of friends in the urban poor community.

Iyang mga teen-ager na iyan, mga barkada ni Kian ‘yan,” Maxima said pointing to a group attending the wake. “At iyang mga mas bata, tinutulungan niyang mag-igib diyan sa igiban,” she added. (Those teen-ages were all Kian’s friends. And those younger ones, Kian used to help them fetch water.)

Maxima said the victim was even friends to the elderly in their community.

“May matanda kami rito sa loob na palaging binibiro ni Kian. Kaya iyak ng iyak ang matanda noong nalaman niyang pinatay ang bata,” she said. (We have an old woman here who Kian used to kid a lot. That’s why the old woman cried hard when she learned the boy was killed.)

Some participants in yesterday’s condemnation rally at Brgy. 160, Caloocan City.

Condemnation rally

Hundreds of supporters led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Karapatan and Rise Up marched two kilometers in the rain to Barangay 160 for a condemnation rally yesterday.

“Nakikiramay po kami sa pamilya at sa buong pamayanan sa pagkamatay ni Kian sa kamay ng mga pulis,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said. (We condole with the family and your community for the death of Kian at the hands of the police.)

Reyes informed the community of the second autopsy report that concluded Delos Santos was lying on the ground and was shot three times, twice on his head that probably killed him.

Malinaw po na hindi lumaban si Kian kundi pinaslang ng walang kalaban-laban,” Reyes said. (It is clear that Kian did not put up a fight but was killed in cold blood.)

Barangay 160 residents participated in a moment of silence at the start of the rally as well as the candle-lighting ceremony at the end.

They also chanted “Justice for Kian!” along with the marchers who meandered through the community’s narrow alleys and roads.

“It was as if they were in a drama”

Maxima said it was as if Kian’s murder was well-scripted but badly staged.

“Habang nagpapaputok sila, kunwaring tumatawag sa celfon yung isang pulis na nagpapasoklolo. Parang sira,” she said. (While they were firing shots into the air, one of the officers made a show of loudly calling for backup. They’re crazy.)

Tapos tinututukan nila yung mga taong dumungaw sa bintana,” Maxima added. (And then they trained their guns on people looking out their windows.)

A closed-circuit camera footage also showed one of the police officers asking community guards to see if he was hit as he lifted his shirt and turned around to show his back.

Maxima said the police has earlier killed another minor in their community who was killed in place of another family member who was involved in drugs.

“Hindi na lamang nagkaso ang pamilya kasi natakot siguro,” she said. (The family chose not to file charges, probably because of fear.)

Maxima said the police had been incessant in their Oplan Galugad, but made a mistake in Delos Santos’ case.

Iyang Galugad na iyan, sinasanay na kami dito. Palagi iyan. Pero inosente itong pinatay nila,” Maxima said. (Oplan Galugad had been constant in our community. But they killed an innocent child.) # (Report and photos by Raymund B. Villanueva)