MANILA – A Filipino court on Tuesday sentenced three policemen to the murder of a 17-year-old boy and sentenced them to up to 40 years in jail, in the first sentence of a wreck that the president caused Rodrigo Dutert’s war on drugs.
Nearly 5,000 people are believed to have been killed by the police and many more unofficial militias, since Duterte swore during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would hunt drug dealers and users and “dump everyone in Manila Bay and grease all the fish there.”  But until now, the raging death has taken place in a mood-free atmosphere, with Duterte insisting that he forgive all officers who were found guilty of murder while performing. For the first time, his promise will be tested.
The dead boy in the middle of the case, Kian Loyd delos Santos, was incorrectly identified by an informant as a drug attendant, prosecuted prosecutor. 19659002] The witnesses had described that Mr. Delos Santos was led by the officers in August 2017 and shot close, his body slowly found near a pig star about 100 meters away. A neighbor video camera captured the police who hit the dead boy in minutes before he died.
Opposed to statements by the police, who said that the boy had taken a gun and put a shooting game that led to his death. But forensic evidence also showed that he had been shot in a foster position.
The workers – Arnel Oares, Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz – were brought to a lower court in Caloocan City, just north of Manila, with strict security. The police in full fighting equipment escorted them into a convoy who talked through Manila’s congested streets.
A large audience of journalists was prevented from entering the packed town hall, where Judge Azucena explained that the three officers would serve their sentences without the possibility of parole.
Mr. Delos Santos’s mother, Lorenza delos Santos, said she was sorry that the court had sentenced her son’s killer and stressed that the ruling also freed him from allegations that he had been involved in drug trafficking.
“I am very pleased that this is proof that my son is innocent,” she said when she came from court. She expressed hope that police officers involved in similar incidents would now live in fear of being punished.
The teen’s death, in August, ignited public anger. During his funeral process the Catholic Church and human rights activists led a demonstration to terminate Dutert’s drug war.
Two other teens were killed in similar circumstances after delos Santos died, and Duterte later declared a short moratorium on police troops. The president also met with the boy’s parents and promised them that justice should be served.
The prosecutor of the state Persida Acosta said that the court would serve as a warning to other police accused of exaggeration in the performance of their mandate. “Why kill a child while you kneel?” Why kill a person who is already inability? “She said. “You can not say that Kian drew a gun to the officers. It’s very clear.”
But she also tried to limit government’s broader influence and said that while the case showed that the three police officers owed, it did not mean extrajudicial deaths had broadened in Mr. Dutertes drug war.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch welcomed the ruling as “the first conviction of state agents involved in drug war death”.
“This is a triumph of justice and accountability and a warning to members of the Philippine National Police to respect the fair work of the civilian population when they do their job,” said Brad Adams, Asia’s Director of Human Rights Watch, in a statement. 19659002] However, Adams also noted that Duterte had repeatedly promised to forgive police.
“There is reason to suspect that he will keep that promise,” said the statement. “It is therefore important for the government to create an independent commission to investigate these killings. “
Mr. Duterte in October said he had reason to believe in the officers’ account in the delos of Santos, even though he seemed to say they had gone too far.
” About Kian, this student you will feel the truth, “said Duterte in October.” At least the police’s version, in the trial. But it will not excuse or motivate to kill a person whose hands are busy, ready to abandon or kneel, because it is really killing. “