HomeCommentarySeventeens: Glimmer of light amidst darkness

Seventeens: Glimmer of light amidst darkness

Six years ago, the death of 17-year-old Kian Lloyd Delos Santos on August 16, 2017, ignited a widespread outcry over police brutality in the country.

The police maintain that it was an isolated incident; however, the question arises – how many more such isolated cases have occurred since then?

Today, we find ourselves once again in mourning, this time for 17-year-old Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar. His promising life was tragically cut short by operatives of the Navotas Police on the afternoon of August 2, 2023.

In response, six police officers have already been relieved of their duties and detained pending preliminary investigations.

The Chief of Police of Navotas City was also relieved of his duties on August 15, following the revelation that he had ordered the concealment of the involvement of 11 other police officers in the fatal shooting incident.

Produced by Vincent Go

During the funeral mass held at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Kalookan Diocese Bishop Pablo Virgilio David addressed the police, stating, “My brothers and sisters in the police force, I want to remind you, that you are not the law, but servants to uphold the rule of law. You were not commissioned, dressed up with your uniforms, armed, and paid from taxpayers’ money to kill, but to serve.”

Bishop David also drew attention to the previous deaths of individuals such as Kian Delos Santos, Raymart Siapo, Carl Arnaiz, Reynaldo De Guzman, and others. He posed inquiries about pending “Death Under Investigation” cases and asserted our right to access this information.

- Newsletter -

Following the mass, a funeral procession took place, with friends, neighbors, widows of extrajudicial killing victims, religious figures, and loved ones participating.

Banners were displayed, demanding justice for Jemboy and others who have suffered similar fates. Eventually, Jemboy was laid to rest at the La Loma Catholic Cemetery that afternoon.

That day serves as a poignant reminder of three 17-year-olds – Jemboy, Kian, and the young actor JM Canlas, whose family donated his casket and found its way to Jemboy.

While their paths never intersected, they collectively exemplify the presence of a glimmer of light amidst the darkness, guiding us toward the pursuit of what is right and just.

Vincent Go is a veteran photojournalist covering social and environmental issues for LiCAS.news. He has been documenting the Philippines’ war on illegal drugs campaign since 2016. 

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.