Geertman in the Netherlands. Photo by NFS
The farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon), Anakpawis Partylist-Central Luzon and Justice for Willem Geertman Movement (J4WGM) asserted that the case of Dutch non-government organization (NGO) executive director Wilhelmus “Willem” Geertman is not a case of robbery with homicide but an extra-judicial killing (EJK) as part of “Oplan Bayanihan,” the Aquino government's counter-insurgency program. This is in reaction to a resolution issued by the Office of City Prosecutor of city of San Fernando, Pampanga, dated December 27, 2012 but received only yesterday by Atty. Edre U. Olalia, legal counsel for Aurora Santiago, Geertman's fiancee, and secretary-general of National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL).
“We refute the prosecutor's resolution that Geertman’s case is as how the police have downgraded the case as robbery with homicide,” according to Joseph Canlas, Chairperson of AMGL and Co-Convenor of Justice for Willem Geertman Movement.
"We reiterate that Geertman's killing was carefully planned and executed, because of his active support and participation to the struggle of poor farmers, as well as campaign against mining in the region. The PNP must broaden their view and investigate thoroughly than plainly basing on the empirical facts, as upon reading the resolution, it is somehow apparent that the PNP has not dug any deeper in investigating " he added.
Geertman was the Executive Director of Alay Bayan Luzon, Inc., a service-oriented and disater preparedness non-government organization when he was killed last July 3, 2012 at his office at San Fernando City. Prior to his work at ABI, he supported the struggle of Aurora farmers under Panlalawigang Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Aurora (Pamana Aurora). He has also supported the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers' struggle.
The groups said that they are aware that Geertman’s killing is part of the comprehensive attack of Aquino government against the people’s democratic rights as extra-judicial killings remain unabated reaching to 137 cases as reported by Karapatan human rights group.
After Geertman’s killing, the Justice for Willem Geertman Movement was launched last August which was joined by various people’s organization from peasant, workers, students, human rights workers, peace advocates anf church people. The campaign for Geertman has caught public attention in the Philippines, as well as overseas such as The Netherlands, New Zealand, Hong kong, Canada and US. On November last year, Geertman's family and Santiago, petitioned the Dutch Parliament to pressure the Philippine government to thoroughly investigate his killing. Anakpawis Partylist Representative Rafael V. Mariano filed a House Resolution No. 2551 stating that the Committee on Human Rights must conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the killing of Geertman.
The J4WGM said that Santiago through her legal counsel Atty. Olalia would appeal the resolution so that the proper crime would be charged to the assailants.
"We press on the police to arrest Harold Dela Cruz and other suspects involved in killing Geertman. The prosecutors' office should dig deeper so as to determine the assailants' mastermind," Canlas said. #