State prosecutors have filed criminal charges against six Navotas police officers implicated in the death of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar.
In the charge sheet, Assistant City Prosecutor Arvin Carael and City Prosecutor Armando Cavalida named the respondents as Executive Master Sgt. Roberto Dioso, Staff Sgts. Gerry Maliban, Antonio Bugayong, Jr., and Nikko Esquillon, Cpl. Edmard Blanco and Pat. Benedict Mangada.
The charge sheet was filed before the Navotas City Regional Trial Court.
No bail was recommended for the police officers, who were all assigned to the Navotas City Police Station.
The prosecutors said the accused conspired and shot Baltazar which inflicted gunshot wounds on the back of his head.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the decision to file a murder case underwent a thorough process.
“This was discussed in the DOJ and we had the information evaluated to ensure we file the correct case. We did not agree that this was a homicide case. The Navotas case was murder,” Remulla said.
Relatives and neighbors of Baltazar as well as forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun were identified as witnesses in the complaint.
On Aug. 2, the police officers launched a pursuit operation against a murder suspect when they chanced upon Baltazar who was then onboard a boat.
They then commanded Baltazar and his companion to surrender. However, the victim allegedly jumped into the river, prompting law enforcers to fire at him, which resulted in his death.
The police officers later admitted that Baltazar was not the suspect they were looking for but a certain Reynaldo Bolivar.