President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 21, assured the public of a thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of 17-year-old high school student Kian Loyd delos Santos.
Speaking to reporters at the Malago Clubhouse, Malacañang Park, President Duterte said he would refrain from commenting on delos Santos’ death pending the result of the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as instructed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“When the Secretary of Justice ordered the NBI to investigate, the most prudent thing for me to do is to shut up and wait for the result of the investigation,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive admitted that he saw television reports about what happened to delos Santos and agreed that there should be an investigation.
Delos Santos was killed last August 16 during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan City conducted by the Philippine National Police.
“Should the investigation point to liabilities by one, two, or all, there will be a prosecution and they have to go to jail if convicted. That I can assure you,” Duterte said adding that he will not interfere in the probe.
He reiterated that his order to the authorities was to neutralize criminals who resist arrest but if the investigation would prove that there was a “rubout”, those responsible would be put behind bars.
The President also explained that he would not visit the wake of Delos Santos to avoid suppositions. He said a visit can be perceived that he is apologetic for what happened to delos Santos, which may put pressure on the police force.
“I would be putting so much pressure on the police… I cannot do that because the organization sa PNP is under me. I would be the last person to condemn them without a valid investigation,” he said.
New BOC and PDEA chiefs
Meanwhile, during the same interview, the President confirmed several new appointments to his administration.
He said Isidro Lapeña will be the new chief of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), replacing Nicanor Faeldon.
Duterte said Faeldon, who conveyed his intention to resign three times, is “very disappointed” at the BOC.
He said he still believes in Faeldon describing him as a “good and honest” man. He noted that he is still open to give him a post in his government but has yet to decide on it.
“The Bureau of Customs has a rotten system. You need somebody to have a system there. A new one and a competent military man can do it just like General Lapeña. Kaya niya ‘yan. General Lapeña enjoys my confidence and trust, which is very important. Otherwise, we go back to the same old problem,” said Duterte.
“If he says that there will be a massive reorganization, sa kanya ‘yan. It’s his decision,” he added.
Lapeña, who is the current head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), will be replaced by PNP Region 3 Regional Director Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino.
Duterte said Aquino was previously assigned in Davao.
Meanwhile, Duterte clarified that Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Eduardo Año remains to be his top choice for the DILG chief post.
The President, however, said while Año cannot assume post yet due to one-year appointment ban, he can make him his senior aide at the Office of the President or an undersecretary if legally feasible. ### PND