Jemboy pal: PNP official tried to make me a liar
MANILA, Philippines — The police official who led the botched operation that resulted in the tragic killing of Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar had wanted to make it appear that the slain teenager had illegal drugs and a pistol, a witness told the Senate on Wednesday.
On the third day of the Senate inquiry into the Aug. 2 incident, Sonny Boy Augustilo said Police Capt. Mark Joseph Carpio tried to force him to include in his affidavit that his friend was carrying illicit items supposedly to protect the members of the Philippine National Police who took part in the operation.
Fielding questions from Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the witness said Carpio made the attempt when he was brought to the police station moments after Baltazar was shot and killed in a supposed case of mistaken identity.
He belied the claims of the PNP personnel that they only fired warning shots, saying his friend actually fell into the river after he was hit in a volley of gunfire.
“You mentioned that a police officer instructed you to include in your sworn statement that [Baltazar] had a gun and illegal drugs. Is that true?” Hontiveros asked Augustilo.
Augustilo, who attended the hearing via video conference, replied: “Yes, ma’am. It’s for the policemen who might lose their jobs. That’s what Captain Carpio told me.”
The police official, who was cited in contempt by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs for giving conflicting testimonies, denied coercing the witness to give a false statement.
“That’s not true. I did not say that,” said Carpio, whose testimony during the proceedings contradicted a sworn affidavit he had submitted to the Department of Justice.
Augustilo said he and Baltazar were just cleaning a boat when they suddenly heard gunshots, prompting the victim to hide inside a small hole in the vessel’s hull. Contrary to their claim that they only fired on the water, he said the policemen directly shot at them repeatedly without warning.
The policemen, he added, continued to fire their guns after Baltazar fell into the water, controverting Carpio’s testimony that he had asked them to surrender.
The victim’s uncle, Nicanor Guillermo, and elder sister, Jessa Baltazar, who both attended the five-hour hearing online, narrated that the police officers prohibited them from searching for Baltazar.
“[The policemen] just left the area as if nothing happened,” Jessa lamented.
Guillermo said he eventually found his nephew’s body on the muddy portion of the river three hours after the incident.
Breaking down in tears, the victim’s uncle said: “To the police officers, I know you are also victims of the wrong information you received. But you have to be accountable for what you have done.”
“We just want the truth. We’re just fishermen. We don’t have money to fight it out in the courts,” Guillermo lamented. “God knows what really happened.”