The Caloocan Regional Trial Court sentenced officers Arnel Oares, Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz to up to 40 years in prison without parole and ordered them to pay compensation of 345,000 pesos ($6,580) for the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in an anti-drugs operation outside Manila in August 2017, reports Efe news.
However, the officers were found not guilty of planting evidence. Next to Santos' body were two sachets of "shabu" - a cheap and widely consumed methamphetamine - and a .45 caliber gun.
"We welcome the trial court's conviction of Kian's killers and thank all those who assisted in securing justice in this case - particularly the courageous eye witnesses, the church workers, and human rights defenders who offered sanctuary, and the investigators and prosecutors who performed their duty," said the chairman of the Philippines' human rights commission Chito Gascon in a statement.
Gascon also asked the Duterte government "to step up their efforts in delivering justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings by ensuring that all perpetrators are apprehended and charged".
The killing of Santos, captured by security cameras in Caloocan, marked a turning point in the war against drugs led by Duterte that hardened public opinion on abuses.
Santos, a student, was found dead on August 16, 2017 with several shots to the head after a drug raid in which, according to the police, he took out a firearm, forcing them to shoot.
However, witness accounts and security camera footage showed two men in civilian clothes dragging Santos through a basketball court, contradicting the police version of shooting in self-defence.
The officers alleged that Santos was a drug trafficker, but the teenager's family vehemently denied the accusation of which there was no evidence.
Duterte's violent war on drugs has claimed the lives of some 5,000 suspects, although human rights groups estimate the figure to be over 15,000.
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