“It is a warning shot against those who take legal shortcuts. There will always be a day of reckoning for those who follow illegal orders. No bad deed will be forever hidden in darkness. The dawn of justice will come to those who perished in the night.”
This was the statement of senatorial bet and former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo ‘Erin’ Tañada on the conviction of police officers for murdering then 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in Caloocan.
Caloocan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr convicted Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares, Police Officer 1 Jeremias Pereda, and Police Officer 1 Jerwin Cruz, and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua, or imprisonment for 20 to 40 years, without eligibility for parole.
Tañada along with former senator Rene Saguisag, Caloocan Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Sister Mary John Mananzan and other prominent human rights advocates were the convenors of the Movement Against Tyranny in 2017 to stop the killings that followed the campaign of President Duterte against drugs.
“May this court decision reverse all justifications for summary executions and propensity to just kill anybody who will be found violating the law. We cannot just mandate armed units to be deployed to transport terminals, eateries and other public places to kill “istambay” as President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced,” said Tañada.
The former legislator from Quezon also issued his reaction to the President’s announcement, forming Duterte Death Squads (DDS) to kill potential communist rebels.