Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution seeking to declare every 16th of August as a “National Day of Remembrance” for all the victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte government’s war on drugs in commemoration of Kian delos Santos.
In Resolution 848, Hontiveros said Delos Santos’ death sparked national and international outrage, and underscored the human rights atrocities committed in the name of the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, even to innocent youth and children.
Kian, a 17-year old student, was killed by members of the Caloocan City Police in an operation in their barangay on August 16 last year.
Hontiveros said closed circuit television footage and witnesses showed that Kian was punched and slapped before being dragged to a dark alley where he was shot. The victim allegedly appealed to the policemen to stop as he has exams the next day.
She said that according to the Children Legal Rights and Development Center, at least 74 minors have been killed in police operations and vigilante-style attacks from July 2016 to December 2017 and that many cases, such as Kian’s, were not mere collateral damage but actual targets.
The senator said Duterte’s continuous verbal attacks on drug users and his expressions of disdain on principles of human rights and due process, directly or indirectly, endorse the killings in the name of the war on drugs.
On the other hand, she said the police officials involved in the death of Kian were somehow rewarded with promotions as Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, then-Caloocan City Police chief, who is now the new Bulacan Provincial Police chief while then-Northern Police District director Chief Supt Roberto Fajardo has been appointed to head the PNP Highway Patrol Group.
“By choosing to remember those who have been felled by the war on drugs, we state our clear rejection of this culture of impunity and brazen disregard for due process and human rights,” Hontiveros said.
She said the act of remembering is an act of defiance against the killings.
“To forget is to give consent. We have the duty to remember. Amid the deluge of fake news and the systemic attempt at data obfuscation and revisionism to cover up the thousands who have died under President Duterte’s brutal drug war, we must not allow Kian and all the EJK victims to be rendered nameless, invisible and forgotten,” she said.
As part of the many efforts to commemorate the first death anniversary of Kian and all EJK victims, a memorial marker will be unveiled Friday, 5:30 p.m., at the San Roque Cathedral compound in Caloocan.
The unveiling of the marker will be led by Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Hontiveros, and friends and relatives of Kian.
A memorial Mass will follow at 6 pm.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima said the people should not forget the alleged crimes of Duterte and seeking justice for the victims of extrajudicial kills.
“For now, we pause and pray for your victims. As we remember Kian, we remember how we need to stand up and protect human rights, democracy and morality in our society,” she said in a press statement.
“Sa paglimot, magpapatuloy ang siklo ng kasinungalingan at pag-abuso sa ating mga karapatan. Sa pagwawalang-kibo, mauulit at mauulit lang ang pagpaslang sa mga batang gaya ni Kian—na pinagkaitang mabuhay at tuparin ang kanilang mga pangarap,” she added.
De Lima is at present detained at the PNP Custodial Center on drug charges. She has repeatedly denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade.