Department Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to review its operational procedures,
Abalos issued the directive following the police killing of 18-year-old Jemboy Baltazar of Navotas allegedly due to mistaken identity.
“We will have a meeting with the PNP leadership to discuss what we should do. We will revisit all modes of procedure and the command responsibility, to find out the level of liability and prevent this from happening again.” Abalos said in a statement on Friday.
Abalos and PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. separately visited the wake of the teenager on Thursday.
Earlier reports said that the victim Baltazar was a minor being 17-years old, but a text message by PNP Public Informations Office chief, Brig. Gen. Medrico Maranan stated that the victim was already 18 years old and of legal age.
On August 2, Baltazar was aboard a small vessel and on his way to go fishing when he was shot and killed by Navotas City cops in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran.
Accompanying the victim was his friend which said that they were preparing their boat when a policeman ordered them to get off and the two reportedly tried to give themselves up, but the cops allegedly kept on shooting and it was at this point that Baltazar dove into the water.
Some of the six policemen said in their affidavits that they fired shots only at the water and that they did not intend to hit the teenager.
Acorda told Baltazar’s family that the PNP will exert all efforts to find out what really happened.
“I am here, first, to send our condolences. At the same time, to give assurance to the members of the family that we will not hide anything. When it comes to the conduct of the investigation, we will be exerting all our efforts so the truth will come out in this investigation.” the PNP chief said.
Acorda added that the PNP will continue to provide protection to the family.
Meanwhile, the PNP chief also reminded the policemen to be more prudent in using their firearms.
The concerned policemen have undergone inquest proceedings over complaints of ‘reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.’
They are also facing administrative charges for grave misconduct and serious irregularity in the performance of duty. They were also relieved from their post and detained at the Navotas police station.