A mother’s grief: They didn’t give Jemboy a chance
MANILA, Philippines — It has been almost a month since 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar was killed.
His mother, however, tirelessly searches for justice, questioning why he had to die at the merciless hands of police.
In between sobs in a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Rodaliza asked why her son was killed by Navotas policemen last August 2 after mistaking him for a murder suspect.
“Wala naman pong kasalanan yung anak ko. Bakit po nila binaril?” the mother asked during the hearing of Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
(My son didn’t do anything wrong. Why did they shoot him?)
“Dapat po, kinausap muna nila yung anak ko, kung anong pangalan, kung ano pong kasalanan…” Rodaliza lamented.
(They should have talked to my son first, asked for his name, and asked what he did wrong… )
She attended the hearing through a video call.
It took a few more moments—as she wiped away her tears— before she could continue her testimony.
“Hindi po nila binigyan ng pagkakataon yung anak ko e. Pinagbabaril po nila. Pinatay nila yung anak ko,” Rodaliza told the lawmakers.
(They didn’t give my son a chance. They shot him. They killed my son.)
She called on the Senate to help her find justice for her child, Jemboy.
Before she made an emotional plea, Rodaliza narrated before the committee how she learned about the death of her offspring.
She was in Qatar and was planning to send money as a belated birthday gift to Jemboy.
Then, a friend expressed condolences to her.
“Sabi nya, ‘Mads, condolence.’ ‘Sabi ko bakit? Sino?’ Sabi nya: ‘Di mo ba alam mo yung anak mo, napatay na?’ Sabi ko, ‘Bakit sya namatay?!’”
She had no idea the money she saved for Jemboy’s birthday would be used for his funeral.
“Pangarap ko po maging seaman sya, pero hindi na po matutupad yun dahil patay na po sya e,” Rodaliza said in grief.
(My dream was for him to become a seaman, but it won’t be fulfilled anymore because he’s already dead.)
Criminal complaints were filed against six Navotas policemen allegedly involved in the killing of Jemboy.
Meanwhile, Navotas police chief Colonel Allan Umipig has been removed from his post.
He is facing administrative charges in connection with Jemboy’s death.