police brutality

Cops kill 17-year-old in Navotas mistaken as suspect

Jairo Bolledo

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

Cops kill 17-year-old in Navotas mistaken as suspect

SLAIN. Photo of 17-year-old Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar, who was killed by cops in Navotas City.

Navotas City police chief tells Rappler cops made the wrong decision to fire their guns while pursuing the wrong suspect last August 2. No verbal warning was issued, contrary to PNP rules

MANILA, Philippines – An innocent individual has been killed by cops who did not follow police procedures on pursuing suspects.

Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar, 17, lost his life after police from Navotas City fired a gun at him while he was boarding his boat. In a phone interview with Rappler, Navotas City police chief Police Colonel Allan Umipig confirmed the incident.

According to Umipig, the police were looking for suspects of a shooting incident in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran on August 2. A suspect had escaped, and during the cops’ follow-up operation, they received information that the suspect allegedly boarded a boat.

When the police arrived at the scene, they saw Baltazar and his friend’s boat. Rattled and scared, the 17-year-old boy jumped off the boat and swam in the river, while his friend remained in the boat. The cops then fired at Baltazar.

Ito namang mga pulis, nagkamali ng desisyon na magpaputok (the cops made the wrong decision to fire their guns),” the Navotas police chief told Rappler, adding that the cops said they fired shots just to “scare” the victim.

It was found out later that the 17-year-old victim was not the suspect the cops were looking for.

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

The police underwent inquest proceedings before the Navotas City prosecutor’s office. The family filed a homicide complaint against the six cops. Baltazar’s friend served as a witness in the case.

Rappler asked for the names of the cops, but Umipig said the six police asked that their names not be disclosed. Rappler is currently looking for other means to determine the names of the six cops.

Rule 6.2 of the Philippine National Police (PNP) operations manual encourages the use of megaphones and similar instruments during actual police operations “to warn or influence the offender/s or suspect/s to stop and/or peacefully give up.” Rule 6.3 prohibits the use of warning shots.

In addition, Rule 7.2 explicitly states that “the police officer must first issue a verbal warning before he could use force against an offender.”

In a statement on Wednesday, August 9, PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo ordered the NPD’s district internal affairs service (DIAS) to probe Baltazar’s killing. Triambulo said the DIAS is in the pre-charge investigation phase, meaning it is already studying the possible charges. The PNP IAS is the police unit responsible for probing into violations committed by cops.

Culture of killings

Incidents like this were common during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte as he waged a bloody war on drugs.

In December 2020, for instance, former cop Jonel Nuezca shot and killed Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank, 25, after a heated argument. The shooting was caught on video, and later went viral. Nuezca passed away inside the New Bilibid Prison a year later.

Not a year after the Nuezca incident, another cop, Police Master Sergeant Hensie Zinampan killed 52-year-old Lilybeth Valdez in May 2021. Zinampan, who appeared to be drunk, pulled Valdez’s hair and shot her in the neck, killing her instantly, according to the family. The incident was also captured on video. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Avatar photo


Jairo Bolledo

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