PNP: Navotas cops shot teen over mistaken identity

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP: Navotas cops shot teen over mistaken identity
Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar is shown in a photo on GMA News

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police yesterday vowed justice for a 17-year-old boy who was killed by policemen in Navotas City in what the PNP described as a case of mistaken identity.

Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan, the PNP’s public information officer, said a thorough investigation is underway to determine the circumstances that led to the death of Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar during a police operation in Barangay North Bay Boulevard South Kaunlaran on Aug. 2.

“We will give justice to Jemboy and we will make sure the investigation will be fair and swift,” Maranan said in Filipino during a news briefing at Camp Crame.

Six police officers – one executive master sergeant, three staff sergeants, two corporals and a patrolman – are facing a complaint of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and have been placed under restrictive custody, Maranan said.

The policemen were pursuing a suspect in a shooting incident whom they believed was hiding in a boat.

Based on the initial investigation results, Maranan said the policemen mistook Baltazar as the one they are looking for after the boy jumped into the water from a boat.

One of the police officers fired into the water, hitting Baltazar. They later realized he was not the subject of their manhunt.

It is for this reason that instead of murder, only complaints for homicide were filed against the lawmen before the Navotas prosecutor’s office as what happened was a case of mistaken identity, according to Maranan.

The firearms of the policemen will be subjected to ballistics examination to determine who among them fired the fatal shots.

“We will not tolerate the lapses and the errors of police officers,” Maranan said.

Baltazar was on his way to fish when he was shot and killed by the police officers, GMA News reported.

A friend who was with Baltazar said they were preparing their boat at noon on Aug. 2 when a policeman ordered them to get off. They reportedly tried to surrender, but the police fired at them and kept shooting as Baltazar dove into the water.

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