Homicide raps filed in Geertman slay but lawyer wants murder

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09:56 PM February 13th, 2013

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By: Tonette Orejas, February 13th, 2013 09:56 PM

HUMAN RIGHTS activists picket the prosecutor’s office in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, to condemn the extrajudicial killing of Dutch lay missionary Wilhelmus Geertman. TONETTE OREJAS / INQUIRER Central Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A state prosecutor has found probable cause to file robbery with homicide charges against suspects in the killing of a nongovernment organization official, Wilhelmus Geertman, a Dutch, in July 2012.

The resolution by Assistant State Prosecutor Philip Tumala, dated Dec. 27, 2012 and received by Geertman’s coworkers only on Tuesday, will be appealed to the Department of Justice, said Edre Olalia, lawyer of the victim’s fiancée, Ma. Aurora Santiago.

Olalia said the case should have been murder, which was what Santiago has been demanding, believing that Geertman’s is a case of extrajudicial killing.

Quoting Santiago, Olalia said Geertman earned the ire of powerful people for his advocacy against mining, logging and land grabbing in Aurora. Geertman was executive director of the Alay Bayan Central Luzon Inc. (ABI).

“We shall appeal this resolution so that the proper crime of murder is charged,” said Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

In the four-page resolution, Tumala said that based on facts and evidence, he found four elements of robbery and homicide against Harold de la Cruz, Marvin Mansan and several men still at large.

Three witnesses identified the two main suspects as the ones who shot Geertman just as he entered the ABI compound in L&S Subdivision here after withdrawing money from a bank in Angeles City.

Insp. Gerardo Fronda filed the case in Tumala’s office. Fronda could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

“We are glad that formal charges have been finally filed against some of the perpetrators who reportedly have links to the military,” Olalia said in a statement.

But Olalia said Tumala’s resolution “is incredibly detached and blindly oblivious to the relevant circumstances surrounding the cold-blooded murder of the activist who has stepped on very big toes.”

Olalia urged the arrest of De la Cruz and Mansan, who are residents of Mexico and Arayat towns.

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