De Lima denounces kid’s death in shootout between cop, drug suspect


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has condemned the death of a six-year-old boy who was caught in a crossfire between a cop and a suspected drug offender in Camarin, Caloocan last April 29.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, said children should never pay the price for the Duterte administration’s fake war on drugs that targeted only the poor and the defenseless while allowing the police force to put law into their hands.

The former justice secretary also reiterated her call for the Duterte administration to put an end to its anti-narcotics campaign which continues to promote the culture of violence in the country and waste thousands of innocent victims.

“Isa na namang inosenteng bata ang napatay at tuluyang pinagkaitan ng kinabukasan at pagkakataon na matupad ang mga pangarap sa buhay. Ang trahedyang sinapit ni Gian ay bahagi lamang ng hindi na mabilang na mga batang napaslang ng ganitong madugong insidente,” she said.

“Ang lalong hindi katanggap-tanggap, sa halip na itigil na ang kultura ng karahasan at makidalamhati sa mga biktima at sa kanilang pamilya, itinuturing pa sila ng rehimeng Duterte na mga collateral damage. Mga walang awa’t malasakit. Walang pakundangan sa hustisya, walang mga konsensya,” she added.

Gian Habal, a Grade 1 student, was reportedly playing outside his family residence in Brgy. 178, Camarin, Caloocan City where he was hit by a stray bullet in the head. The incident happened as Corporal Rocky delos Reyes was allegedly exchanging fire with the suspect identified alias “Botchok.”

The incident also wounded Habal’s grandmother who was shot by the suspect in her foot when she purportedly tried to prevent the suspect from escaping.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde said the .45 caliber pistol of the police officer will undergo ballistic examination to confirm whether the bullet that killed Habal was fired from Delos Reyes’ firearm.

Aside from the ballistic examination, De Lima said the regrettable incident warrants a serious investigation by the authorities to ensure that the policeman involved in the shootout adhered to the established rules of engagement to avoid unnecessary casualties during the operation.

“I have repeatedly said that the attempt to bring suspected offenders to justice should not be at the expense of precious human lives. A serious investigation is necessary to ensure justice and accountability for the victim and his family left behind,” she said.

“Aside from finding out whose bullet killed Gian, it is equally important to know if the operation was done recklessly. This should serve as a reminder to the entire police force to know the proper response in every life-threatening situation to avoid putting innocent lives at risk,” she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol earlier filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 499 urging the appropriate Senate committee to investigate the successive reports of killings of children either by police or vigilantes under the government’s fake war on drugs. She has also filed SRNs. 357, 358, 421, 451 seeking for a Senate investigation into the alleged involvement of some unscrupulous police officers in cases of extrajudicial killings and summary executions.

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