‘Not an isolated incident’: Hold the PNP and Marcos Jr. accountable for the killing of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar

Coni Ledesma
Head, NDFP Special Office for the Protection of Children

The Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) expresses outrage on the killing of another minor at the hands of the fascist GRP police forces. In another shocking display of brutality, six Navotas policemen rained bullets on 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar and his friend in the river while cleaning their boat last 2 August 2023.

The circumstances surrounding Jemboy’s killing is senseless. In the first place, the policemen involved did not even verify his identity before shooting and the reason for shooting remains unclear to this date. The fact that his family was barred from the scene to check for signs of life, the fact that the body cameras of the police forces were turned off, and the overall lack of transparency in the (Philippine National Police) PNP’s internal investigation is highly suspicious and symptomatic of the GRP’s modus operandi of covering up their tracks to escape accountability.

According to an autopsy, Jemboy suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died of brain injuries with drowning as a contributing factor. If they allowed the family access to immediately search for the body, Jemboy could still have been saved. But the fact that his body was only recovered three hours after being submerged in water is utterly reprehensible.

The cruel death of Jemboy at the hands of state armed forces is not an isolated incident. It is part of an alarming pattern of impunity in killings under the fascist rule of the US-Marcos regime which bears chilling resemblance to the dark legacy of the Marcos fascist dictatorship marked by rampant human rights abuses and unchecked authority.

The SOPC holds the PNP and their commander-in-chief Marcos Jr directly accountable for the killing of Jemboy. We call on the international community, human rights groups, and advocates for children’s rights to make the US-Marcos regime answer to their crimes against children and humanity.