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Jemboy’s family unhappy with court ruling, intends to elevate case to CA

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The family of Jemboy Baltazar, shot dead on Aug. 2, 2023 by policemen who claimed it was a case of mistaken identity intends to elevate the case to the Court of Appeals (CA) because of their dissatisfaction with a trial court ruling finding only one of the six suspects guilty of homicide.

Senator Risa Hontiveros shared the Baltazar family’s sentiment, saying the fight for justice in the alleged “mistaken” killing of 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar by Navotas policemen “is not yet over.”

“We will fight until the end to get justice for our son even if we have to sacrifice our lives,” Jemboy’s mother Rodaliza said in an interview with GMA news.

“The Department of Justice (DOJ) vowed to help us appeal the case so it will be reopened,” she added.

The Baltazar family claimed that the Navotas City Regional Trial Conrt’s (RTC) decision was “disappointing and unacceptable” because only one of the six accused will be imprisoned.

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“Why only one will be imprisoned, but the five are free? We are very disappointed with the decision on my son’s case,” Rodaliza said.

“It was unacceptable,” Jemboy’s father Jesse added.

The court found only SSgt. Gerry Maliban guilty of homicide, not the capital offense of murder, and sentenced him to four to six years in jail, plus P50,000 in moral and civil damages.

Four others—SSgt. Niko Pines Esquilon,  MSgt. Roberto Balais Jr., Cpl. Edmard Jake Blanco, and Pat. Benedict Mangada—were convicted of the lesser offense of illegal discharge of firearm and sent to only four months in prison.

Asked if the family would present more evidence during the appeal, Rodaliza asserted that the police conspired to supposedly cover up the crime and limit the prosecution’s access to evidence.

According to her, a civilian, not the policemen, retrieved Jemboy’s body from the river, adding that the cops did not bother to look for evidence or witnesses to the slaying.

“It seems that they conspired to shield their fellow policemen. That has become the culture in our area. We are poor and we are also struggling to find justice for my son,” Rodaliza noted.

In a press conference at the Senate, Rodaliza said the court decision essentially “killed” their son twice. “I feel so much pain right now. Their decision was to just detain them for four months,” she stressed.

“This hurts my family so much, to see that a person living a hard life will also find it hard to find justice. Just like us. Our message to anyone facing the same situation, whether as a parent or a sibling … do not lose hope… we have high hopes that we will find true justice that my son deserves,” she stressed.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “Baltazar kin to appeal ‘unacceptable’ court decision.”

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