Press Release
September 8, 2017


Sen. Grace Poe has sought an investigation into the spate of killings of teens, as she called for speedy resolution of their cases, prosecution of law enforcers involved and reminded that these should serve as a wake-up call to authorities to protect minors and children.

Poe cited the numerous cases of gruesome deaths of minors and teens, often described by authorities as "collateral damage" and "isolated incidents" in the administration's drug war, but she said these must be considered heinous crimes no matter how few and rare.

In particular, the senator cited the killings of Kian Loyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, and recently, Arnaiz's companion, 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman, who was found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija with multiple stab wounds and face covered with packaging tape. Aside from the three, it was reported that 54 people aged 18 years old and below have been killed so far in either police operations or vigilante-style killings since July 2016.

"It is imperative to determine whether these killings were arbitrary executions caused by excessive, disproportionate and illegitimate use of force of law by law enforcement officers," said Poe in filing Senate Resolution No. 498.

"Before we plummet into chaos and utter savagery, the recent brutal deaths of Kian, Carl, and Reynaldo, and of the other youth victims who came before them, should serve as a wake-up call and a reminder that we are a country of laws and morals," she said.

Poe also urged authorities to exercise restraint and care in dealing with children in conflict with the law (CICL), consistent with Section 6.1, Chapter 3 of the Philippine National Police's manual in handling cases of children at risk and CICL. The manual provides that the use of instruments of force or restraint like handcuffs may only be applied when absolutely necessary and only after all other methods of control have been exhausted and have failed.

Under the same manual, the use of unnecessary violence and force against the child is prohibited without exception and the use of unnecessary violence and force is considered a criminal offense.

"Given these increasingly gruesome deaths, we must ensure that the operational protocols of law enforcement agencies strictly adhere to the enshrined rights in our laws and international conventions," said Poe.

Poe reiterated her call for authorities to establish appropriate protocols, conduct better training in dealing with possible CICL, require the wearing of body cameras for police operations, secure scenes of the crimes and protect CCTV footage and witnesses.

Moreover, the senator referred to the provisions of the Constitution, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Act which point that there should be due process and they should not be subjected to torture or any inhumane treatment.

"Policymakers should condemn the utter disregard of human life by some police officers, who have sworn to protect and serve the people in carrying out the strong directive of the State to weed out illegal drugs activities," Poe said.

"The plea for justice of the victims' relatives should not fall on deaf ears; the senseless killing of innocent Filipinos, especially minors, under the cloak of addressing the country's drug problem should be addressed by relevant legislation, policy recommendations, and impartial investigation," she said.

News Latest News Feed