THE killing of “La Pieta” drug suspect Michael Siaron proved drug traders kill each other.
Malacanang said this yesterday, pointing out that the solving of the case confirmed the government’s earlier stance that many of the drug-related killings were committed by illegal drug syndicates themselves.
“The Siaron case verifies what government has said from the start of the campaign against illegal drugs: Many of these killings were perpetrated by those involved in drug operations as well; drug traffickers and pushers eliminating each other,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in his press statement to Palace reporters yesterday.
“Authorities have put closure on the death of Michael Siaron, whose photo was compared to the ‘Pieta’ image, after ballistics examination from a recovered firearm revealed that he was killed by a member of a syndicate also involved in the illegal drug trade,” Abella said.
The Pasay City Police declared the killing of Michael as “case closed” as they have identified the suspected killer as a certain Nesty Santiago through a ballistic examination of the recovered firearm of the suspect.
Santiago is a member of a syndicate involved in robbery hold up, carnapping, gun for hire, and the illegal drugs trade.
The drug suspect in the viral ‘Pieta’ image that came to be used to criticize President Duterte’s war on drugs was not killed by the police, but by drug syndicates.
Michael Siaron was shot dead in the EDSA-Taft area on July 23, 2016, around two months after Duterte took office as President. Siaron was photographed being cradled by partner Jennilyn Olayres, which was compared to Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus in the Michelangelo masterpiece Pieta, a popular 15th century sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding the lifeless body of Jesus.
It was prominently featured by Philippine news outlets and was carried by international news outfits including The New York Times, earning the ire of Duterte when he delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, 2016.
“The relentless attribution of such killings to police operations was both premature and unfair to law abiding enforcement officers who risk life and limb to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in our society,” Abella said.
Abella added: “Government assures the public and the families of victims of deaths under investigation that authorities will pursue cases until the truly guilty are brought before the bar of justice.”