“WHAT happened to Kian Lloyd delos Santos may very well happen in Cebu.”
With this worry, militant groups and concerned citizens in Cebu will be holding an indignation protest today over the death of Delos Santos, a 17-year old Grade 11 student who was killed in what police claimed was an anti-drug encounter in Caloocan City last week.
The protest will be held in front of Gaisano Metro on Colon Street at 4 p.m. today followed by a candle-lighting ceremony and an offer of prayers for justice to victims of extrajudicial killings.
Justine Balane, Akbayan Youth Cebu coordinator, lamented about the public may eventually become desensitized as a result of the large number of people who have died in the drug war, taking it as a “normal” occurrence in the country.
“Ang among fear is nagkabata ang mga biktima sa war on drugs ni Duterte. Ang nahitabo kang Kian, pwede mahitabo bisan kinsa especially sa dili ka afford ug legal service and legal protection,” he added.
(Our fear is that the victims of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs are getting younger. What happened to Kian can happen to anyone especially those who cannot afford legal service and legal protection.)
The Akbayan youth group in Cebu said around 200 people are expected to join today’s indignation assembly.
Today is also Ninoy Aquino Day, to remember that day in 1983 when former senator Benigno ”Ninoy” Aquino, then the leading opposition personality against the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, was shot dead in the tarmac of the Manila airport after he was forced by state forces to disembark from the plane that brought him home from an exile in the United States.
Aside from linking their activity with the Ninoy Aquino holiday, Balane said they decided to hold the protest today because it would be the earliest day that they could show their protest and indignation against what they considered as the “murder” of Delos Santos.
Akbayan Youth also called for an immediate moratorium on all activities related to the administration’s war on drugs.
“We also demand for swift, impartial and independent investigation on cases of anti-drug killings and accountability from President Duterte especially since before the death of Kian, he said nga tanan mga bata collateral damage lang (that all youth are just collateral damage),” he said.
Balane said they found the police’s explanation that Delos Santos resisted arrest and fought back to be “outrageous” especially after closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage and witnesses accounts showed that the student was falsely accused to be in possession of illegal drugs and was forced by his police captors to hold and fire a gun before they shot him.