Arts & Culture
Kian Delos Santos' Heart-Wrenching Story Gets Immortalized in a Children's Book
The PCIJ Story Project has released a digital storybook on the 17-year-old boy killed by policemen.
IMAGE FACEBOOK/ PCIJ STORY PROJECT
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In light of recent events in the country, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has released a digital storybook on Kian Delos Santos through its Project for Innovation In Storytelling initiative. Titled Si Kian, the debut project details the life and death of 17-year-old Delos Santos.

Delos Santos entered public consciousness after a police-led anti-drug operation led to his death, with reports stating that Delos Santos had engaged in a shootout with the police. The release of CCTV footage and eyewitness statements, however, contradicted those of the police, and Delos Santos has since been the face of the numerous fatalities from the Philippine National Police's ongoing war on drugs.

Written by Weng Cahiles and illustrated by Aldy Aguirre with research by Kimberly dela Cruz, translations by Ramon C. Sunico and edits by Sheila S. Coronel, Si Kian paints the compelling and heart-wrenching story of a hardworking boy who wanted to be a policeman leading up to Delos Santos’ final hours and ending with his funeral, ultimately calling for justice.

2/15 MIYERKULES Uwian. Makikita natin si Kian. Unang araw ng exam nila. Diretso uwi dahil kinabukasan, tatlong subjects pa ang kailangang paghandaan. Bukod tanging naglalakad kasabay ang mga kaklaseng naka-bike at naka-motor. Sinasabayan ng hakbang ng kanyang paa ang ikot ng mga gulong. “Wag kayong mag-alala. Sampung araw na lang, magkakabike na rin ako,” sabi niya, inaabangan ang pangako ng ina na nasa Saudi. Sinabi kasi ni Nanay Elsa sa huling usap nila sa Facebook na ipasa lang niya ang exam, magpapadala siya ng P4,500 pambili ng bisikleta at helmet. “Thank you, mama. I love you. ????????" “I love you too, anak.” /// WEDNESDAY School’s over, time to head home. We see Kian. It’s the first day of exams. He’s going straight home to study because he has three tests tomorrow. He’s the only one walking. His classmates are on bicycles and motorbikes. His feet keep pace with the turning wheels. “Don’t worry. In just ten days, I’ll be on a bike too,” he says, remembering the promise his mother had made. In their last Facebook chat, Nanay Elsa said that if he passed his exams, she would send him 4,500 pesos for a bicycle and a helmet. “Thank you, mama. I love you. ???? ???? “I love you too, son.” ------- This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism

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3/15 Labimpitong taon si Kian. Grade 12 student. Sa loob ng tatlong taon na pagtatrabaho ng ina sa Saudi, nakapagtayo sila ng maliit na tindahan. Siya ang taga-bukas at bantay bago pumasok sa eskwela. Madalas nasa trabaho si Tatay Saldy kaya walang nagluluto para sa kanila. Kapag walang pera, ang paboritong tsistsirya ang inuulam ni Kian. Kapag inaalok ng pagkain ng kapitbahay, tinatanggihan sapagkat nauunahan ng hiya. /// Kian is seventeen, a Grade 12 student. His mother has been working in Saudi Arabia for three years. From her earnings, the family set up a small store. Kian’s job was to open and watch over it before going to school. Tatay Saldy was often at work, so no one cooked for them. When there was no money, Kian had chips for dinner. When neighbors asked him over to eat, he would be too shy to say yes. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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4/15 Kilalang pilyo at nagagawang lusutan ang mga gusot dahil sa mga biro. “Kian, bakit ka na naman late?” sabi ng guro. “Pasensiya na po. Pinaliguan ko pa po kasi yung alaga kong manok,” o kaya ay “Pasensiya na po. Natraffic po yung bangka.” Magtatawanan ang buong klase at mawawala ang inis ng guro. Palipat-lipat ng upuan sa klasrum. Malakas mang-alaska. Pero aba, siya ang Peace Officer ng klase! /// Kian was known to be naughty, always managing to get away with mischief because he was funny, too. “Kian, why are you late again?” the teacher would ask. “Sorry po. I gave our pet chicken a bath,” or “Sorry po. Our boat was stuck in traffic.” The whole class would laugh and the teacher would no longer be mad at him for being late. He kept changing seats in the classroom. What a big joker he was, always teasing and making fun. But, wow, he was the Class Peace Officer! ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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6/15 Lumaki sa Barangay 160, Kalookan si Kian. Makikitid ang mga daan. Dikit-dikit ang mga bahay. Sali-saliwa ang mga kawad ng kuryente. Haharang-harang sa kalye ang mga sampayan. Magkakatabi ang mga tindahan. Maraming mga batang naglalaro sa daanan. /// Kian grew up in Barangay 160, Caloocan. It’s a place with narrow alleys. The houses are so close, it’s like they were glued together. The electric cables are in tangled coils. Clotheslines block the way. Stores squeeze against each other. The alleys are crowded with children at play. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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7/15 Kasabay niyang mangarap na maging pulis ang matalik na kaibigan na si Lenard. Minsang nasa bahay sila ng kaklase, inakyat ni Lenard ang gate at tumalon. Mali ang bagsak at natusok ng bakal ang tagiliran. Si Kian ang unang nakakita, agad na humingi ng tulong at sumama hanggang sa ambulansya. Sampung araw si Lenard sa ospital dahil natamaan ng bakal ang atay. /// Kian’s close friend Lenard also wanted to be a policeman. Once, at a classmate’s house, Lenard climbed over the gate and jumped. He landed badly and a piece of metal pierced his side. Kian was the first to see. He quickly called for help and rode with Lenard in the ambulance. Lenard was in hospital for ten days because the piece of metal grazed his liver. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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8/15 Nang malamang pwede nang makakain si Lenard, tinanong niya kung ano ang gusto nito. “Mga prutas. Alam mo na kung anong paborito ko.” Dahil walang pera, binenta ni Kian ang damit at kuwintas na pilak. Nang dumalaw, may bitbit na pakwan, saging, at mansanas. “Tuwing gigising ako, siya ang hinahanap ko bukod sa pamilya ko. Siya lang gusto kong nakikita. Kapag wala siya, hinahanap ko. Tinitext ko. Halos mapunit ang tahi ko sa tiyan dahil sa katatawa. Titingin siya sa labas ng bintana ng ospital tapos sasabihin niya, ‘Yan, lahat ng nakikita mo, hindi sa atin yan /// When he learned that Lenard was allowed to eat regular food again, Kian asked him what he wanted. “Fruits. You know my favorites.” He had no money, so Kian sold some of his own clothes and his silver necklace. For his visit, he brought along watermelon, bananas, and apples. “Whenever I wake, it is always Kian I look for aside from my family. He’s the only one I want to see. When he’s not around, I ask for him. I text him. my stitches almost tore open from laughing at his jokes. He would look out the hospital window and say, ‘There. Everything your eyes can see... none of it is ours.’” ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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9/15 Noong piyesta, nakilala niya si Criszza. Bagaman maiksing tatlong buwan lang ang naging relasyon, napag-usapan nila ang mga pangarap sa buhay. “Parang gusto kong mag-pulis kasi ang sarap sa pakiramdam makatulong sa kapwa.” Bibiyahe na magkasama, bibili ng kotse, may dekorasyon na Hello Kitty ang magiging bahay, at ipapabukas ang simbahan sa Tagaytay kapag sarado para lang magpakasal sila. Ngunit sa gitna ng lahat, lubos ang pangungulila ng binata sa ina at ilang beses na umiyak kay Criszza. “Si mama gusto ko na umuwi. miss na miss ko na siya. Gusto ko na siya makasama.” /// Kian met Criszza at the fiesta. Though their relationship lasted just three short months, they talked about their dreams. “I think I want to be a policeman because it feels great to be able to help others.” They would travel together, buy a car, their house would be decorated with Hello Kitty. If the church in Tagaytay were shut, they would have it opened just for their wedding. But through all of this, Kian longed for his mom, crying to Criszza so many times. “I want mama to come home already. I miss her so much. I want to be with her.” ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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10/15 MIYERKULES. Bandang alas otso ng gabi. Nasarado na ni Kian ang kanilang tindahan. Istrikto si Tatay Saldy kaya’t nagtext kay Kian na matulog nang maaga at mag-ingat sa labas. Makikita natin si Kian, hindi sa ating mga mata kundi sa isang camera. Nakayuko at naka-shorts. Hila-hila ng dalawang pulis na hindi naka-uniporme. Liliko sila sa eskinita hanggang sa hindi na natin siya makikita. Dito, magmamakaawa siya. /// WEDNESDAY. Around eight o’clock at night. Kian has already shut the store down. Tatay Saldy is strict with his kids. He texts Kian to be careful outside and to sleep early. The next time we see Kian, it’s through a camera. He is in shorts, head bowed, and he is being dragged by two policemen out of uniform. They turn into an alley until they can be seen no more. Here, he begs for mercy. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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11/15 "Tama na po! Tama na po! may test pa ako bukas!” “Ito ang baril. Iputok mo tapos tumakbo ka.” Ang dilim ay mababasag ng ingay. Maiiwan si Kian na nakaluhod at tiklop-tuhod. Tatlong tama ng baril ang tutuldok sa kanyang buhay. Hindi na niya makakasabay ang mga kaklase magbisikleta pauwi. Hindi na siya magiging pulis. Hindi na niya makakasama si Nanay Elsa. Habambuhay siyang labimpitong taong gulang /// “No more! No more! I still have a test tomorrow.” “Here’s the gun. Fire it, then run.” The sound of gunfire shatters the darkness. Kian is left head down, his knees folded. Three bullet wounds, like three periods ending his life. Never again would he walk alongside his classmates on their bikes. Never would he become a policeman. Never would he be with Nanay Elsa. Forever he would be seventeen. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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12/15 HUWEBES. Saudi. Makikita natin si Nanay Elsa, nagmamakaawa. Uuwi na sana siya nung isang taon, lubha ang panghihinayang. Nang malaman ang balita, lumuhod at humagulgol. Halos halikan na ang paa ng amo. “Mama, what will you do if your son died and you will not see him again?” umiiyak na tanong niya sa amo. Dahil ramdam ng ina ang hinanakit ng kapwa ina, agad siyang ibinili ng tiket pabalik ng bansa upang makita ang anak sa huling pagkakataon. /// Thursday. Saudi Arabia. Nanay Elsa is pleading with her employer. She almost came home a year ago and deeply regrets not having done so. She shakes with sorrow. She is on her knees, almost kissing the feet of her boss. “Mother, what will you do if your son died and you will not see him again?” she begs, tears in her eyes. Because only a mother understands what other mothers suffer, the woman immediately buys her a ticket home so she can see her son for the last time. ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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13/15 SABADO. Sa lamay. Makikita natin si Nanay Elsa. Nakaupo sa unang baitang ng hagdanan. Tanaw niya sa kabaong si Kian, suot ang barong na pinag-ambagan ng mga kapitbahay. Sa taas nito, may nakabukas na pakete ng paborito niyang tsitsirya. Katabi nito ay isang sisiw na palakad-lakad at maingay, sunod sa panini- walang makukunsensya ang taong pumatay sa bawat pagtuka. Paos na ngunit tuloy pa rin sa pagkukwento tungkol sa anak at pagsagot sa mga tanong. “Kahit wala na akong boses, gagawan ko ng paraan para ipagsigawan na inosente ang anak ko.” /// SATURDAY. The wake. Nanay Elsa sits on a stairstep. She has a view of Kian’s casket. There her son lies, wearing a barong. The neighbors chipped in to buy it. On the casket, a bag of his favorite chips is open. Beside it, a live chick chirps, paces, and pecks. Each peck, old folks say, pricks the conscience of the killers. Nanay Elsa is hoarse and yet she still answers questions and shares stories about her son. “I may lose my voice, but I’ll find a way to keep shouting to the world that my son is innocent.” ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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14/15 Mga sumunod na araw. Sa may labas ng bahay, nagtipon-tipon ang mga tao. Lahat may baong kwento. “Si Kian nililibre ako niyan kapag recess. Palamig at fishball.” “Ang tawag ni Kian sa Papa ko, Papa rin.” “Ako taga-gupit ng buhok ni Kian.” “Hindi namin tagabili ng shabu yan, nauutusan namin bumili ng lumpia.” “Nasaan si kuya Kian?” “Hindi ko siya kaano-ano pero apektado ako kasi alam kong hindi siya ganun.” Sa gitna, naroroon si Maynard, kaibigan ni Kian. Naghahagod ng pintura sa t-shirt. “Justice for Kian” ang sabi ng mga puting damit. Sa paligid niya, nagkakagulo ang mga kapitbahay. Naghihintay na matatakan ang kanilang damit para maisuot sa libing ng kaibigan. “Sa bawat hagod ko, pakiramdam ko nasa tabi ko siya. Ito na po yung sinisigaw ng mga ka-barangay niya dito: Hustisya!” /// In the days that followed. Outside the house, people gather. Everyone brings a story. “Kian treats me during recess. A cool drink and some fishballs” “Kian also calls my Papa, Papa.” “I’m the one who cuts Kian’s hair.” “He’s not our drug courier, he’s the one we ask to buy spring rolls.” “ Where has kuya Kian gone?” “We’re not family, but his death really touched me because I know he’s innocent.” There in the middle is Maynard, one of Kian’s friends. He is silkscreening shirts. “Justice for Kian,” the white clothes proclaim. Around him, a gaggle of neighbors wait to have their shirts printed. They want to wear them to the funeral. “Each pass of the silkscreen, I feel him beside me. This is what all of us here are shouting: Justice!” ------------ This is the story of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a 17-year old student killed by three policemen in Caloocan City on the night of August 16, 2017. Written by Weng D. Cahiles Illustrated by @aldywalks Research by @Kimiisstellar Translated into English by Ramon C. Sunico Edited by Sheila S. Coronel #pcijstoryproject #everydayimpunity #ejk #warondrugs #storybook #journalism #justiceforkian

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