Philippine National Police

TIMELINE: The killing of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar in Navotas

Jairo Bolledo

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

TIMELINE: The killing of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar in Navotas

SLAIN. Jessie, father of Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar who was killed by cops in Navotas City, views his son's casket on August 9.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

(2nd UPDATE) Jemboy's killing adds to the long list of cases of innocent individuals mercilessly slain by the police

MANILA, Philippines – Six years after the killing of Kian delos Santos in Caloocan City in August 2017, another 17-year-old died in the hands of cops.

Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar was killed by cops in Navotas City while the teen was at the river near their home. He was a protective brother to his sisters and a loving son to his mother and father.

TIMELINE: The killing of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar in Navotas

Jemboy dreamt of becoming a seafarer, but stopped going to school before he could finish Grade 10. To help his family, he worked as a fisherman.

Unfortunately, Jemboy could no longer fulfill his dream of helping his parents. He was killed by the police in the same river that sustained their livelihood.

Jemboy’s killing adds to the long list of cases of innocent individuals mercilessly slain by the police.

Below is a timeline of the key events surrounding Jemboy’s killing.

August 2, 2023

At around 1:30 pm on August 2, Jemboy and his friend clean their fishing boat. It is Jemboy’s supposed first fishing trip after two months.

Cops from the Navotas City Philippine National Police (PNP) arrive in the river in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran, Navotas City. Rattled and scared, Jemboy jumps off the boat and swims in the river, while his friend remains in the boat. The police then fire at Jemboy.

Jessa, Jemboy’s eldest sister, refutes this version of the story and says her brother did not jump off the boat. She says that when the cops arrive in the river, they issue a warning shot by firing at the water. According to her, the cops rain gunshots at Jemboy and his friend. Jemboy’s friend sees his friend with gunshot wounds, Jessa says.

Cops later find out that Jemboy is not the target of their operation. The police are looking for suspects involved in a shooting incident in the village, and receive information that one of the suspects allegedly boarded a boat, Navotas City police chief Police Colonel Allan Umipig says.

Water, Waterfront, Transportation
JEMBOY’S BOAT. The boat Jemboy and his friend used before the 17-year-old was killed by cops on August 2, 2023. Jire Carreon/ Rappler

At 2 pm, Jemboy’s family arrive at the river after learning that he was shot by the police. Cops bar the family from getting near him, saying that Jemboy has yet to leave the water, according to Jessa.

Jemboy’s family argues with the police, saying they should check on him to know whether or not he is still alive.

At around 5 pm, or after three hours of being submerged in the water, a relative recovers Jemboy’s lifeless body. Jemboy’s father Jessie holds his son while on top of a makeshift boat, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Pieta. Jessa captures the heartbreaking scene on video, which makes the rounds online.

The family waits for the PNP’s Scene of the Crime Operatives until evening.

At around 10 pm, the funeral home picks up Jemboy’s remains.

August 5, 2023

Three days after the teener’s death, forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun examines Jemboy’s body to determine cause of death.

August 7, 2023

Jemboy’s remains return to his family in Navotas. His family starts his wake in front of their house.

The teenager’s casket was donated by the late actor JM Canlas, who recently passed away.

August 9, 2023

Colonel Umipig says the six cops tagged in Jemboy’s killing have been relieved from their posts and are currently detained at the Navotas City Police Station. The suspects will later be transferred to the district custodial facility of the Northern Police District (NPD), which covers Navotas City, Umipig adds.

The six police underwent inquest proceedings before the Navotas City prosecutor’s office, and the family already filed a homicide complaint against them, the Navotas City police chief says.

Umipig refuses to disclose the cops’ names, saying the police asked that their names not be disclosed.

PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo, whose office probes violations committed by cops, orders the NPD’s internal affairs service to probe into the teen’s killing. Triambulo says the local IAS is in the pre-charge investigation phase, meaning, it is already studying additional possible charges.

August 10, 2023

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) announces it will send Jemboy’s mother Rodaliza back to the country. She works as an Overseas Filipino Worker in Qatar.

The DMW and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration say they will provide Rodaliza with P100,000 financial assistance, and will shoulder Jemboy’s funeral and burial expenses.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Benhur Abalos, who oversees the PNP, visits Jemboy’s wake.

August 11, 2023

Jemboy’s mother arrives in the country and heads back to their home in Navotas for her son’s wake.

Flower, Flower Arrangement, Plant
MOURNING. Rodaliza Baltazar, mother of Jemboy, is emotional when she sees the casket of her son in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran in Navotas City on August 11, 2023.

Umipig confirms to Rappler that the PNP has relieved 27 cops – one officer and 26 non-commissioned officers – stationed at Navotas City police sub-station 4. The order takes effect immediately, says the police chief.

The relieved cops will undergo refresher courses and training focused on rules of engagement and the PNP’s operations procedures.

The Navotas City police chief also confirms that an administrative case will be filed against the two ground commanders who served as heads of the six cops. Umipig adds that the criminal complaint against the cops was lowered from homicide to reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) issues a statement and expresses concern over Jemboy’s killing. The commission, which has the constitutional mandate to investigate alleged abuses committed by government forces, says its separate probe is already ongoing.

The CHR also urges the PNP to remind cops about the appropriate use of force based on the PNP’s operating manual.

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Navotas teen died due to brain injuries, with drowning as ‘contributory cause’

Navotas teen died due to brain injuries, with drowning as ‘contributory cause’

Fortun tells Rappler that Jemboy died from “craniocerebral injuries due to perforating gunshot of the head, with asphyxia from drowning as contributory cause.” The forensic pathologist tagged Jemboy’s killing as homicide because if he had not fallen into the water, there could have been a chance for him to survive since “the brain injury was not immediately fatal.”

Fortun says the teeanger also sustained a gunshot wound in the hand – a defensive injury – which indicates that Baltazar tried to defend himself when the cops shot at him. 

The forensic pathologist’s findings corroborate Jessa’s narration. Jessa earlier told Rappler that her brother was shot at the back of the neck, and the bullet exited through his nose. Jessa corroborated Fortun’s findings about a gunshot wound in his hand.

The DILG announces that Abalos will meet with the PNP officers to discuss the police’s operational procedure.

August 13, 2023

Forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun on X, formerly Twitter, sounds the alarm after Navotas police visited her to ask for her report on Jemboy’s autopsy.

Navotas City police chief Colonel Allan Umipig says that they visited Fortun’s office to ask for a copy of the autopsy results upon the request of prosecutors. They also sent a letter.

August 14, 2023

Navotas police chief Umipig says the body camera worn by policemen during the killing of Jemboy was turned off. This eliminates another potential source of evidence in identifying those who fired the shots.

Umipig admits that this is not the first time that body-worn cameras were turned off during police operations.

The PNP also names six cops involved in the killing, and says that they face a criminal complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. The two ground commanders who served as leaders of the six cops are facing an administrative case before the Internal Affairs Service of the Northern Police District.

August 15, 2023

Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service (PNP IAS) Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo orders the relief of, and filing of administrative charges against, Navotas City police chief Umipig.

The PNP IAS says the directive was based on information that Umipig allegedly instructed the team leader of cops to exclude the names of 11 police officers from their reports.

Umipig will face administrative cases for dishonesty and command responsibility.

August 16, 2023

Seventeen-year-old Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar is laid to rest at the La Loma Cemetery in Caloocan City. He is buried on the same day that marks Kian delos Santos‘ sixth death anniversary.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in his homily, admonishes the police, saying that cops are not the law, but enforcers of the law.

Senators Koko Pimentel and Risa Hontiveros file a resolution seeking an inquiry into the killing of Jemboy.

August 22, 2023

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs holds a probe into Baltazar’s killing. 

During the hearing, Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros reveals that a cop allegedly asked a witness in the killing to say that the teenager had illegal drugs: “Sinabihan po ang isang witness ng isang armado na nagpakilalang pulis na, and I quote, ‘Sabihin na may droga si Jemboy.’ Amin itong kinumpirma sa abogado niya.”

(An armed person who identified him/herself as a policeman, told one of the witnesses, and I quote, “Say that Jemboy had drugs.” We confirmed this with the witness’ lawyer.)

The senators also discover that the six cops tagged in the killing – Police Executive Master Sergeant Roberto Balais Jr., Police Staff Sergeant Antonio Bugayong, Police Staff Sergeant Gerry Maliban, Police Staff Sergeant Nikko Pines Esquillon, Police Corporal Edmark Jake Blanco, and Patrolman Benedict Mangada – are released from detention pending further investigation.

Senators cite in contempt Police Captain Mark Joseph Carpio, among the team leaders who led the operation where Baltazar was killed, and Maliban. The lawmakers order their detention due to their confusing remarks and noncooperation during the probe. 

August 29, 2023

The Senate continues its probe into Baltazar’s killing. 

In the hearing, Northern Police District chief Brigadier General Rizalito Gapas says the six cops tagged as suspects were not subjected to paraffin tests. The NPD chief, who oversees the Navotas Philippine National Police (PNP), adds that the six were only physically identified by their team leaders, police captains Mark Joseph Carpio and Luisito dela Cruz.

Police Captain Juanito Arabejo, the chief investigator in the case, claims there was no order for the said paraffin test. Umipig reiterates that he gave an order, adding that there were other cops who heard his command.

With this, senators cite Arabejo in contempt, making him the third cop to be detained in the Senate in the duration of the probe into the teen’s killing. 

On the same day, Baltazar’s family and their counsel from legal group IDEALS file a murder complaint against 19 cops – including the six cops tagged in the killing – before the Navotas City prosecutor’s office. 

The family upgrades the complaint from the reckless imprudence resulting in homicide complaint the police said it filed earlier.

September 2, 2023

Exactly a month after Baltazar’s death, unidentified assailants kill 20-year-old Daniel Soria in Malabon City. Soria was Baltazar’s friend, who lived on the other side of the river where the teen was earlier killed. 

Soria was supposed to meet someone in Barangay Longos. Shortly after alighting from a tricycle, Soria was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen. He was shot in the leg, but was still able to run. 

He later fell on the road, and the assailants fired more shots at him, finishing him off. 

Soria was with John Rey Basie, 18, on the night he was killed. Basie is the target of the police operation in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran, where Baltazar was killed.

September 15, 2023

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) approves the dismissal from service of the eight cops tagged in Baltazar’s killing. The NCRPO oversees the NPD, which covers the Navotas City police station. 

The NCRPO approves the recommendation to dismiss police captains Carpio and Dela Cruz for grave neglect of duty, and Balais, Bugayong, Maliban, Esquilon, Blanco, and Mangada for grave irregularity in the performance of duty, conduct unbecoming of a police officer.

October 3, 2023

Navotas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 286 issues a warrant of arrest against six cops tagged in the killing. The court says it found probable cause to order the arrest of Balais, Bugayong, Maliban, Esquilon, Blanco, and Mangada. 

October 4, 2023

The six cops surrender at the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group provincial field unit in Lucena City, Quezon.

October 6, 2023

Basie’s cousin, LA Moral, found him dead along C3 road, Pama Sawata Bridge, Barangay NBBS Dagat-Dagatan in Navotas. The killers are unidentified, according to a police report.

The teen sustained a gunshot wound in the head – a bullet pierced through the back of his head, and exited his chin. He was the third young person to be killed in their area in a span of two months. 

February 27, 2024

After over four months, Navotas City RTC Branch 286 Presiding Judge Pedro Dabu hands down the court’s verdict on the murder case. The court sanctions cops with lighter penalties as it finds only one cop guilty of the lesser crime of homicide for the “mistaken” killing. 

The court convicts Maliban, not of murder but of homicide, and sentences him to only four to six years in prison. The Navotas court also orders him to pay P50,000 for moral damages, and another P50,000 for civil liability.

Four others – Esquilon, Balais, Blanco, and Mangada – are convicted of illegal discharge of firearms and are sentenced to four months in prison.

The court acquits Bugayong.

Baltazar’s parents are disappointed with the ruling, saying that the punishment is not enough to give justice to their slain son. 

“‘Yung lima po makakalaya po, si Maliban lang po ‘yong makukulong, apat na taon lang po. Iyon lang po ba ‘yong buhay ng anak ko? Siya po apat na taon lang siyang makukulong, ‘yung anak ko habang buhay nang wala,” Rodaliza Baltazar says.

(The other five will be freed, and only Maliban will be imprisoned for four years. Is that only the worth of my son’s life? Maliban will be jailed for only four years, while my son is gone forever.)

Department of Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano says they will appeal the court ruling with the Court of Appeals, adding that they will tap the Office of the Solicitor General to represent the government in the appeal.

February 28, 2024

Hontiveros holds a press conference with Baltazar’s parents. 

To avoid similar incidents, Hontiveros notes that the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) should be strengthened through the proposal to reorganize the PNP.

IAS is the internal mechanism of the PNP to investigate abuses committed by the police.

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.