In Memoriam: Kian Loyd delos Santos
WATCH: CCTV footage of cops dragging Kian Loyd delos Santos before he was shot dead.
NEW YORK—The CCTV footage is shocking and gives the lie to police claims that Kian de los Santos shot at them about a week ago, forcing them to return fire and kill the teenager. The camera shows two men dragging the limp, probably unconscious, Kian, to the spot where he would then be executed (if he hadn’t been already).
As the two drag the teenager, young men playing basketball at a nearby court are taken aback by the scene, and one looks on as the men and their victim disappear from view.
Perhaps Kian regained consciousness later on, somehow got hold of a gun, sprung miraculously into action, and dared take on heavily armed men, and paid the fatal wages of his defiance. Then again perhaps the earth is flat.
Perhaps most of our politicians are honorable men and women, defying e.e. cummings’s description of a politician, as an “arse upon which no man has sat.”
Perhaps Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is truly interested in justice rather than belittling the salvaging of Kian, and thus going against the widespread conviction that he is the president’s yes man.
When President Duterte allowed that maybe, just maybe, there were abuses being committed in his war on drugs, and that were the policemen who shot and killed the Grade 11 student found guilty of murder, then they should be punished.
Planet Earth to the president: Hello! Maybe there have been abuses? More than 7,000 casualties later, and this is all he can come up with? A statement that surely qualifies as the understatement of the year.
Imagine Hitler (a monster who seems to be admired by the president) declaring concerning the massacre of the Jews, “Maybe there have been some abuses with regards to the campaign to purify the German nation.”
Imagine the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos (a stalwart in Duterte’s pantheon of heroes) saying to the country, “Perhaps mistakes have occurred in the making of our New Society.”
Imagine Mao Zedong, at the height of the bloody Cultural Revolution, confessing to his comrades that “Perhaps we were too zealous in enforcing the ideological purification of the nation.”
I have no idea what Kian was like, but I would like to think he was your typical teenager, interested in fads in music and fashion, who hung out with his barkada, had testosterone-fueled desires, and dreamed of a life wherein he could follow his passion, whatever that was.
His was a life yet to be fully lived. What if any was his crime? Was he simply at the wrong place at the wrong time? And if there were a crime, surely he deserved his day in court, rather than just being a number to tally, along with the thousands of others who have lost their lives to this mindless violence that Duterte’s war on drugs has unleashed on the nation, and continues to do so.
A reader wrote in response to my last column that I should also write about the pain drugs have caused in our society. I certainly acknowledge this but how are the overwhelmingly poor victims of EJKs to blame for this? How does empathizing about their nightmarish plight exclude empathizing about the other side? And yes, the justice system is broken, as this reader points out. But to conclude that vigilantism is therefore the solution is akin to burning the house down to protest arson.
It’s simplistic to believe that EJKs will “solve” the problem. It won’t, just as it hasn’t in Colombia, and in Mexico.
The reader did acknowledge that no big fish have been landed. Of course not. There is Senator De Lima’s detention, but this is so obviously an act of political payback, since she had been Duterte’s most vocal critic in this unconscionable war. Interestingly, the Maute clan in Marawi City that backed the ISIS-linked uprising there is said by the administration to have financed their operations through the sale of drugs. Apparently the administration knew of this a year before the violence erupted in May. And yet they did nothing.
The poor are easy to target, and always have been. In the twisted universe engendered by this senseless war, the poor indeed will inherit the earth—all six feet of it.
Copyright L.H. Francia 2017