Questions are being asked after security camera footage appeared to contradict police claims that they shot 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in self defence.
The high school student died after he was shot during a police operation in Caloocan on Wednesday evening.
Police claimed he resisted authorities and shot at them, prompting them to fire back.
However, security camera footage that surfaced today (Friday August 18), along with witness accounts, seem to contradict this version of events.
The footage appears to show the police officers ‘frog marching’ the blindfolded youngster to the place where his dead body was later discovered.
Witnesses also claim the teenager was handed a gun by officers, before being instructed to fire it and run away.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa vowed to launch an investigation into the killing. Meanwhile, the officers involved have been suspended from duty.
“I will not allow our policemen to do that kind of thing if indeed the report was true. But my assurance is that I will order an investigation,” he said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella described the shooting of Kian as an “isolated incident”, adding that the streets of the Philippines were “generally safer” thanks to the drug war.
“Killers and criminals”
Meanwhile, in an unusual move, political allies of the president have spoken out against the killing.
Senator Francis Escudero, for example, described the police officers involved as “killers and criminals”.
“The CCTV footage and eyewitness account clearly show that the boy was killed,” he said.
Another group of senators, including Juan Edgardo Angara, Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian have called for a Senate inquiry into this week’s killings.
Former police chief Lacson also expressed alarm over the recent killings, describing them as “mutually contrived”.
He also criticised the government’s focus on “demand reduction” while doing little to prevent drugs entering the country.
“That, for the life of me, I can’t understand,” he said. “The Senate must exercise its oversight authority and conduct a separate probe.”
Kian family to press charges
The family of the teenager have vowed to press charges against the officers involved, saying they cannot accept the official version of events.
The killing of Kian — who reportedly was planning to join the police following his studies — was just one of dozens recorded since Monday, making this the most deadly week since the war on drugs began.
The spate of killings started in Bulacan on Tuesday when police operations resulted in the deaths of 32 suspects.
This was followed by the killing of 25 alleged drug dealers in Manila.
The most recent round of police operations occurred in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela, where 18 drug suspects were killed last night.
No police were injured in any of the “shoot-out” scenarios that officers insist led to all the deaths.
Government figures say that about 3,264 suspected drug offenders have died since the start of the the president’s anti-narcotics crusade. Another 2,000 have died in unexplained homicides, many perpetrated by motorcycle-riding hitmen.
However, human rights activists dispute this and say that more than 7,000 people have died in the crackdown.