Army ‘asset’ named in Geertman murder case
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines —The fiancee of slain Dutch nongovernment organization worker Wilhelmus JJ Lutz Geertman filed Thursday a murder case against a supposed military asset and five other suspects in the July 3 killing of Geertman.
Aurora Santiago filed the complaint against Marvin Marsan, Harold de la Cruz and four still unidentified assailants before a state prosecutor here.
The complaint described Marsan as an “asset” of one Lieutenant Vidi Tababa of the military intelligence bureau of the Philippine Army.
Joseph Canlas, chairman of the Alay Bayan-Luson Inc. (ABI), where Geertman worked as executive director, said their information showed that Marsan, also known as Joshua, was the “brains and planner” of the killing.
Canlas said information received by the ABI showed that one Armando Vital Manyago de la Cruz was the man who shot Geertman and that he must be the one identified in the complaint as Harold de la Cruz.
Geertman was shot and killed by two men at noon of July 3 after returning to the ABI office here from a bank where he withdrew money.
The case is separate from the robbery and homicide case that the police filed before the city prosecutor on July 16. De la Cruz, who has yet to be arrested, is the main suspect in this case.
Lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said Santiago filed the murder case because she did not agree with the findings of the police.
“Reducing it to robbery with homicide camouflages the political killing,” Olalia said.
“At the minimum, [the other case] could be a result of sloppy police work or at the maximum, we have different appreciation of the evidence,” he added.
Geertman had worked for over 40 years in the Philippines, devoting much of those years on programs that helped farmers and indigenous peoples in Aurora secure land ownership, improve production, raise literacy and defend the environment.
The killing, Olalia noted, had elements of “treachery and evident premeditation.”
Four witnesses cited in the murder complaint said that Geertman, 67, raised his hands in an act of pleading for his life.
Santiago, supported by five NUPL lawyers, filed the murder case on the same day of the preliminary hearing of the robbery-homicide case.
State Prosecutor Philip Tumala was expected to consolidate the two cases for a hearing on August 30.
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