Navotas cop on why Jemboy Baltazar was shot: ‘It was like panic firing’
MANILA, Philippines — Panic firing.
This was the reason why police shot 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar in Navotas city on August 2, 2023.
This type of reason led to the death of the teenager.
During the hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on Tuesday, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, and Raffy Tulfo asked the police officers involved in the killing of Baltazar why they began firing shots at the unarmed victim.
The lawmakers wondered why the law enforcers made the assault when there was no order from the team leader for them to take down Jemboy.
The policemen attended the Senate investigation on the tragedy.
“Hindi po namin alam sa kung anong dahilan kung bakit nila nagawa ‘yun,” Team leader Police Captain Mark Joseph Carpio also wondered as he testified.
(We don’t know why they did that.)
“Wala naman pong command at hindi po namin hawak ang mga pag-iisip ng [mga pulis.],” he claimed.
(There was no command, and we were not in control of the thoughts going on in the minds of [the police.])
“Ang sabi nila ay nahawa na lang po sa pagpapaputok. Parang kung tawagin ay panic firing,” Carpio disclosed.
(They say that they just went along with the shooting. It was like panic firing.)
Police Staff Sergeant Gerry Maliban claimed moments before they opened fire, he heard gunshots near the area.
Maliban had been identified by Carpio as the first cop who shot Baltazar.
Fearing for his safety, Maliban said he “fired a shot into the water.”
His action was supposedly meant to warn Reynaldo Bolivar — the murder suspect that they were searching for — about the presence of law enforcers.
“Self preservation lang po ito. Ang iniisip ko po noong panahon na ‘yun ay may pamilya rin po kami,” said Maliban.
(It was just self-preservation. What I was thinking of at that time was we also have our own families.)
Both Patrolman Benedict Mangada and Police Corporal Edmark Jake Blanco, on the other hand, claimed they only fired one “warning shot” into the water.
Meanwhile, Police Major Christine Joy Palaran, the forensic chemist investigating the case, said the firearms of the six cops underwent ballistic examinations.
Out of the six guns, four were positive for gunpowder residues.
The firearms of Maliban and Police Staff Sergeant Antonio Bugayong Jr. were negative for residues.
But forensic chemist Palaran noted there is still a possibility that traces of gunpowder may have been wiped off before the weapons were surrendered to authorities.
“Based on the submitted specimen, the two guns that were submitted tested negative [for gunpowder residue]. However, even if it (they) tested negative for gunpowder residue, it doesn’t give the conclusion that the gun has [not] been fired,” she explained.
“There is a possibility that the gun, prior submission to our office, has been cleaned,” she said.
Here are the names of the six police officers who took part in the operation:
Police Executive Master Sergeant Roberto Balais Jr.
Police Staff Sergeant Gerry Maliban
Police Staff Sergeant Antonio Bugayong Jr.
Police Staff Sergeant Nikko Pines Esquilo
Police Corporal Edmark Jake Blanco
Patrolman Benedict Mangada