Senate starts probe into unjust killing of Jemboy Baltazar
MANILA, Philippines — Senate on Tuesday began an in-depth examination into the controversial case of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar, who was shot and killed by Navotas policemen after mistakenly identified as a murder suspect.
The investigation by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs joint with the justice and human rights panel was prompted by a resolution filed by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and a speech delivered by Senator Raffy Tulfo last August 16.
To recall, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros also filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 742, calling for an inquiry into Baltazar’s case.
In his resolution, SR No. 736, Pimentel detailed that on August 2, at around 2:45 p.m., Navotas policemen were on a follow-up operation after a shooting incident that killed a certain Cristelo Mahinay in Barangay North Bay Boulevard South Kaunlaran, Navotas City.
Citing police reports, Pimentel said a suspect had been arrested, but another escaped and reportedly hid in a boat.
“Upon arriving at the scene, the policemen saw Baltazar and a friend on a boat preparing to go fishing—and suddenly fired at them. The teenager’s friend, who survived unharmed, said they tried to surrender, but the officers kept shooting, prompting Baltazar to jump into the river,” the resolution reads.
Pimentel also pointed out that reported evidence shows no indication of any justification for the use of firearms by the Navotas policemen.
Meanwhile, in his privilege speech, Tulfo denounced the irregularities observed in the killing of Baltazar, among which is the cops’ unnecessary use of a “lethal approach” during the operation.
A hearing brief from the upper chamber states that the inquiry will cover the following:
Discussion on the laws that need to be in place, such as the establishment of mandatory use of dash and CCTV cameras.
A comprehensive review of the Philippine National Police’s Manual of Procedures.
- Exploration of initiatives involving the purification, retraining, and skill-enhancement endeavors within the police force.