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Duterte meets with Kian’s parents

By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS, with a report from Jeffrey G. Damicog

President Duterte met with the parents of slain 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in Malacañang yesterday afternoon.

According to Malacañang, Duterte had a close-in meeting with Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos at around 1 p.m. upon the request of the parents of the slain Grade 11 student.

Also present during the said meeting were Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Public Attorneys Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta, and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez.

According to Malacañang, the parents of the slain teenager thanked Duterte for assuring that justice will be served.

During their meeting, the President reassured that there will be no interference in the case, citing that only due process will prevail and that the handling of the case will be fair.

Aguirre said the almost two-hour meeting went smoothly and all the concerns of the parents, like their security, was addressed by the President.

Kian’s parents also asked the President for financial assistance so they can start their own business because Lorenza only earns P18,000 by working as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia.

Aguirre said Duterte, meanwhile, explained that he chose not to attend the wake of the slain student as it would seem like he is already admitting that it was the fault of the police even if investigation is still ongoing.

Kian, who was laid to rest on Saturday, was allegedly manhandled and killed by members of the Caloocan City Police during the conduct of Oplan Galugad last August 16.

The Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation are now investigating the case after a police report claimed that Kian resisted arrest and fired at the lawmen first. However, a CCTV footage showed he was being dragged by police to where he was eventually found dead. Witnesses also gave statements supporting the CCTV footage.

For the first few days after Kian’s death, Duterte refused to comment on the issue publicly but said he ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) director General Ronald dela Rosa to detain the three policemen involved for murder.

While he agrees that there should be an investigation on the matter, Duterte did not visit the wake of the slain teenager unlike other politicians like Vice President Leni Robredo, senators Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Just like the President, Aguirre assured justice for Kian.

“The violent taking of the life of our youth is deplorable. It simply cannot be allowed to go unpunished,” he said in a statement.

“And I give my solemn reassurances to everyone that the ones responsible for this dastardly act will be punished to the full extent of the law,” Aguirre assured.

With this, Aguirre explained he has never been biased against Delos Santos.

“I am not biased in the Kian de Los Santos case. It is farthest from the truth,” said Aguirre.

“I am on the side of the Truth and of the Rule of Law. That is my only bias,” he stressed.

The secretary made the statement in response to calls for him to inhibit himself from handling the criminal complaints filed before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against the policemen involved in the killing due to concerns he might favor the suspects.

The DoJ chief was criticized when he said during the Senate inquiry over the killing that the incident was isolated and got blown out of proportion.