On October 5, 2023, six police officers were arrested under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines for the murder of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar. The policemen were previously remanded in custody but released again for further investigation.
Baltazar was killed on August 2, 2023, by the arrested policemen in Navotas City, Metro-Manila, on a fishing boat by the river near his house. Because of the numerous inconsistencies in police procedure — which are exemplary for the many extrajudicial killings in relation to the government’s anti-drug-campaign or so-called “war on drugs” — the Baltazar murder case received a great deal of media attention. The six policemen along with 13 other police officers were previously charged with murder by the human rights organization IDEALS, Inc. and were also suspended from duty.
Due to the numerous instances in which the Philippine National Police (PNP) failed to comply with its police operation protocols, Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo filed a Senate Resolution (No. 767) on September 8, 2023. In it, Tulfo demanded that the alleged abuses, killings, and human rights violations committed by the PNP during police operations – particularly in the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal – should be investigated.
According to documentation from Dahas, a research project of the University of the Philippines, between President Marcos’ inauguration on June 30, 2022, and October 27, 2023, 446 people died as a result of the government’s anti-drug campaign. To date, only two of the at least 27,000 drug-related extrajudicial killings have resulted in convictions of the perpetrators.
Photo © Raffy Lerma