Cop convicted of homicide in Jemboy case; others receive lighter penalties

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Cop convicted of homicide in Jemboy case; others receive lighter penalties
Photo taken during the wake of 17-year-old Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar in Navotas City on Aug. 2, 2023.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — A Navotas court found one police officer guilty of homicide in the case involving the death of 17-year-old Jehrode "Jemboy" Baltazar which happened on Aug. 2, 2023.

PSSg. Gerry Maliban, among the six officers initially charged with murder in the shooting incident involving Baltazar, has been convicted of homicide by the Navotas Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 286.

"Police staff seargeant Maliban cannot be said to have employed means, methods or forms in the execution of the crime," said Anne Diaz, Clerk of Court at Navotas RTC, as she read a portion of the court's conviction during an interview with reporters.

"This is because the urge to shoot the victim materialized only when the victim attempted to escape," she added. 

Maliban has been sentenced to serve four to six years in prison.

Other police officers, namely PEMS. Roberto Balais Jr., PSSg. Nikko Esquilon, PCpl. Edmard Jade Blanco and Patrolman Benedict Mangada only received a four-month imprisonment each for the illegal discharge of firearms.

Only one cop named PSSG. Antonio Bugayong has been acquitted.

In August 2023, the Department of Justice charged all police officers with the crime of murder in connection with the killing of Baltazar.

The six individuals were part of the eight police officers involved in the operation on August 2 in Barangay North Bay Boulevard South Kaunlaran, resulting in Baltazar's death.

The police mistakenly identified Baltazar as Reynaldo Bolivar, a murder suspect they were pursuing.

The cops shot Baltazar while he and his friend were boarding a boat. His friend survived, but Baltazar died and remained submerged in the river until his remains were recovered hours later. 

Forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun reported in August last year that Baltazar's cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and drowning from his submerged body was noted as a contributory factor.

A total of 22 Navotas police officers have been sacked over the killing of Baltazar.

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