The farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon) affirmed that the case of Dutch non-government organization (NGO) executive Wilhelmus “Willem” Geertman is murder or a case of extra-judicial killing (EJK) and not a simple robbery-hold-up as police investigators are attempting to suggest. The statement was a result of the group’s fact-finding mission, together with organizations under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Gitnang Luson (Bayan) held after Geertman’s killing. The groups also announced the result of the FFM in a press conference held on July 5, 2012.
“Geertman was clearly killed because of his commitment to serve the farmers in the region and not because he was robbed,” according to Joseph Canlas, Chairperson of AMGL.
“Based on the data we gathered, two armed suspects forcibly entered the compound of Geertman’s office and threatened not just Geertman but also two of his co-workers in Alay Bayan. The suspects could easily take away anything as they were armed but they did worse than that,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alay Bayan Luson, Inc. (ABI).
“Geertman who was sitting at the compound’s balcony was stunned and raised his arms up, expressing no intent of resistance. But the suspects forced him to kneel down, then shot him at the back,” he added.
Amgl said that this is not just a case of extra-judicial killing but a blatant attack on the democratic rights of cause-oriented groups and the people’s movement. ABI is one of the main supporter of Amgl as it adhere to the protection and promotion of farmers’ rights on land in the region. The group is also a regular supporter of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on their struggle against the manueverings of president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s family, the Cojuangco-Aquinos. ABI is also supporting the farmers’ struggle against the Aurora Economic Pacific Zone (Apeco) in Aurora, where Geertman stayed for many years. As ABI is a group for disaster preparedness, relief and rehabilitation, they are in close coordination with the provincial organizations of Amgl, as its members are always heavily affected by natural calamities.
The FFM group acquired a copy of CCTV recording from the homeowners association of the L&S sudivision which showed that the assailants were aboard a red Mitsubishi Gallant with plate number TRS 719 and escaped with a red Honda TMX model motorcycle.
“Geertman’s co-workers tried to ran after the suspects to at least get the plate number of the motorcycle but the suspects threatened to shoot at them,” Canlas said.
The groups also lambasted the AFP’s denial of involvement with Geertman’s case.
“We are aware that Geertman’s killing is part and parcel of the comprehensive and holistic attack of the Aquino government against the people’s democratic rights. The Philippine National Police (PNP), CIDG, the AFP, they are all in collusion and coordination on how to counter-act in the public opinion The AFP, in its history of existence, never admitted a single extra-judicial killing, thus, they should already record on tape their response to be played over and over,” Canlas added.
The group also criticized the local police as it responded ineffectually as it never cordoned the area after the incident.
“These feeble local investigators are trying to box the case as robbery-hold-up. Worse, they are considering Geertman’s co-workers in ABI as suspects. The volunteers in ABI have offered their lives to serve other people and now these sleepy cops are considering them as suspects,” Canlas said.
Local police investigators have ordered Geertman’s co-workers not to pronounce their account of the incident in the media as they are considered suspects.
“Geertman’s case primarily rely on the people’s support as government agencies are hopeless. They are not even searching for Palparan who instigated the killing of many activists during Oplan Bantay Laya. Now under Oplan Bayanihan, we are holding president Aquino liable as he is its number one promoter and implementor,” Canlas said. #