Palawan’s religious leaders on Wednesday joined the widespread public indignation over the killing by the police of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos during a supposed anti-drugs operation last week.
Bishop Socrates Messiona, the newly-installed head of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa said on Wednesday he was concerned about the murder, which has also sparked nationwide indigation, and told Palawan News that while he believes that drugs must be eradicated, that does not justify killings.
“Ang droga ay nararapat na masugpo. Pero ito ay hindi nangangahulugan ng pagsugpo din ng buhay ng tao. Ang akala ba nati’y iligtas ang kabataan sa droga pero bakit tila ang mga kabataan na katulad ni Kian ang sya na ngayong biktima ng laban droga?” he said.
Former Palawan bishop Pedro Arigo also condemned the killing, stating concern in a social media post “we have lost our humanity.”
Delos Santos, a senior high school student in Caloocan was killed by police operatives during a supposed anti-drugs operations last week. The police claimed that the victim had a gun and was shot when he tried to fight back.
A CCTV footage and witness accounts, however, showed the victim being dragged by the operatives moments before he was shot and killed Autopsy reports also found no trace of gun power in the victim’s body indicating that he did not fire a handgun as alleged by the police.
Malacañang had described the case as an “isolated incident” in the government’s renewed campaign against drugs, but added that the police officers responsible for the killing will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Bishop Messiona asked prayers for Kian and urged “respect for life”.
“Sana ang buong bayan ay manumbalik sa pagpapahalaga sa buhay at takot sa Diyos,” he said.