The three witnesses to the alleged murder of Kian Delos Santos in the Caloocan City anti-drug operations last Aug. 16 are now under Senate custody, Senator Risa Hontiveros said yesterday.
Two of the witnesses are minors. Prior to the turn over to the Senate, Hontiveros along with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National Chapter for Legal Aid and Caloocan Bishop Ambo David took custody of the three witnesses, the third witness is 31 years old, the two minors are aged 13 and 16.
“Chairman Lacson also extended the sanctuary of the Senate using his Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs,” Hontiveros told reporters in a press conference after the hearing into Kian’s slay.
Hontiveros said that her office has “full coordination” with Lacson as well as Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
Hontiveros requested for an executive session to listen to the testimonies of the minor witnesses, but was opted to be delayed in another time pending an authorization letter from one of the witnesses’ mother who is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Oman.
“Minabuti ni Chairman Lacson na bago sila idinig sa executive session ay makuha ang authorization in writing mula sa Nanay (ng isa sa mga testigo),” she said.
She added her office has also kept in touch with the witnesses’ parents via text message.
Witnesses may be brainwashed
During the Senate hearing yesterday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II insisted that the witnesses should be placed under the government’s witness protection program (WPP) which is under the Department of Justice, as they could easily be “brainwashed” under Opposition senator Hontiveros’ custody.
The senator, fired back at the Secretary of Justice, saying that it was up to the witnesses and their respective families to decide who to secure them.
During the Senate hearing it was the first time , Kian’s parents Saldy and Lorenzana Delos Santos, came face to face with the three police officers accused of killing their son namely; PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.
One of three question’s asked by the senators’ was “ Who killed Kian Delos Santos?” the three policemen refused to answer and instead invoked their right against self incrimination.
Reports from pna.gov.ph