Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement 12 days after Public Attorneys Office (PAO) forensics chief Erwin Erfe said that Santillan could have been tortured before he was killed in the alleged shootout in Cainta, Rizal on December 10, 2018.
In a statement, Panelo said the Palace denounces the killing and that investigations will push through until perpetrators are brought to justice.
The Palace strongly denounces the brutal and brazen incident which led to the death of Mr. Richard Red Santillan, Panelo said late Monday.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has ordered a fair and thorough investigation of the case until the killers, including the mastermind, are put behind bars, he added.
Panelo noted that police are being accused of torturing Santillan but said that the Palace will not intervene with the investigation.
Serious accusations have been made against some members of the CALABARZON Police. Let the chips fall as they may, he said.
As we know by now, PRRD does not condone erring men in uniform who grossly violate the law. Similar to the Batocabe murder case, he certainly has the same commitment of getting justice done for the family, relatives, friends and for all those Mr. Santillan left behind, he added.
According to Erfe, a total of 63 wounds were found in the different parts of Santillans body, adding that there were fracture and puncture injuries in the head, chest, and abdomen that would indicate torture.
The police, however, denied the alleged torture. The Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory in Rizal explained that based on the autopsy, there were no signs of bruises, much less torture.
A police report claimed that Santillan was a member of an organized crime group and the subject of a police operation that resulted in his death. The PNP had also presented a diagram that showed his links to an organized carnapping group.
Two police officers from the Rizal Provincial Police Office were already relieved from their post on December 12, 2018 in connection with Santillans death. The two were identified as having participated in the police operation in Barangay San Andres, Cainta which led to the alleged shootout.