By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Thursday assured that there will be no cover-up in the investigation into the killing of a teenager in a recent pursuit operation in Navotas City, noting that the involved policemen have already admitted their mistake.
In an interview, NCRPO director Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. assured there is no other motive in the death of Baltazar and that it was purely a mistake on the part of the police.
He also assured that justice will be served to the victim identified as 17-year-old Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar.
The six policemen, Nartatez said, are already behind bars and are already facing criminal charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
To avoid similar incidents, Nartatez said the NCRPO will strengthen programs to continue educating their personnel especially on rules of engagement and patrolling.
Meanwhile, the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will expedite the fact-finding investigation of the case.
IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said they have started the investigation on the mistaken identity case and they are expecting to release their recommendation in the first week of September.
“The fact-finding investigation started on Aug. 10 and we have seven days pre-charge investigation. Then, 20 days summary hearing,” he said in a message sent to reporters when sought for a comment.
He said the involved policemen will be asked to submit their counter-affidavit.
Triambulo said the recommendation will be submitted to the NCRPO for approval.
PNP Public Information Office chief Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said on Wednesday a police executive master sergeant, three staff sergeants, two corporals, and one patrolman involved in the incident are now facing administrative and criminal charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Citing the report of the Navotas City police, Maranan said the police officers conducted a pursuit operation on Aug. 2 in response to a murder incident when they chanced upon Baltazar who was then on board a boat.
The police said they commanded Baltazar and his companion to surrender. However, he 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. (PNA)