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MANILA, Philippines – The six cops tagged in the killing of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar have surrendered to authorities, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG) confirmed on Thursday, October 5.
The CIDG said in a report that the following cops surrendered on October 4, Wednesday, at around 5 pm:
- Executive Master Sergeant Roberto Balais Jr.
- Staff sergeants Antonio Bugayong Jr., Gerry Maliban, and Niko Pines Esquilon
- Corporal Edmard Jake Blanco
- Patrolman Benedict Mangada
The six cops surrendered at the CIDG provincial field unit in Lucena City, Quezon. As of October 4, the CIDG said the suspects were “undergoing booking process and documentation for proper disposition.”
“They cannot also post bail,” the CIDG added.
The suspects surrendered the same day the Department of Justice publicized the arrest warrant issued by Navotas City Regional Trial Court Branch 286 Presiding Judge Pedro Dabu Jr. In the arrest warrant, the court said that probable cause was determined after the evaluation of the Navotas City prosecutors’ resolution, which indicted the six.
Dabu also noted other supporting evidence like the joint sworn statement of police captains Mark Joseph Carpio and Luisito dela Cruz, who served as the cops’ supervisors.
The cops’ surrender came roughly two months after Baltazar was killed in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran on August 2. While he and his friend were cleaning their fishing boat in a river near their home, the police fired shots at the boat, killing the teen. According to forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun, Baltazar died of brain injuries due to a gunshot wound in the head, with drowning as a contributing factor.
After the incident, the six cops were placed under custody for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide complaint. They were released for further investigation, but now under the police custody’s anew following the arrest warrant.
The six cops, along with 13 others, also face a separate murder complaint filed by the Baltazar family and human rights group IDEALS. On top of these, the six police, including Carpio and Dela Cruz, face possible dismissal from service after the PNP National Capital Region Police Office approved their dismissal order. – Rappler.com