Geertman case: Murder, robbery charges pressed

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The fiancée of slain Dutch activist Wilhelmus Geertman has petitioned the Department of Justice (DOJ) to charge his killers with murder and robbery.

In a 13-page petition filed on Feb. 26, Maria Aurora Santiago also asked the DOJ to set aside the Dec. 27, 2012 resolution of Assistant State Prosecutor Philip Tumala, who recommended only robbery and homicide charges against Harold de la Cruz and Marvin Marsan.

The case, filed by police, has been raffled off to the Regional Trial Court Branch 42 here.

Geertman, 67, worked for over 40 years in the Philippines, mostly in Aurora. He led campaigns against logging, mining and land grabbing while doing literacy classes for farmers and indigenous peoples. In 2011, he worked as executive director of the Alay Bayan Central Luzon Inc. (ABI), a disaster response management organization.

Three witnesses identified De la Cruz and Marsan as the ones who shot and killed Geertman on July 3 last year, just as he entered the ABI compound in L&S Subdivision here after withdrawing money from a bank in Angeles City.

Santiago, through the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), said several circumstances “qualify the crime into murder.”

“The respondents carefully planned their acts. They studied his movement as indicated from the fact that they tailed him before they struck. In addition, they had back-up vehicle to ensure, not only the success of their plan, but also to ensure that they would be able to escape after the killing,” the petition read.

“It is obvious that it was not a spur of the moment decision to kill Wilhelm. These were carefully planned which showed that their acts were evidently premeditated,” it said.

Treachery was used, Santiago said, referring to information by four witnesses who claimed they saw De la Cruz and Marsan “hold Wilhelm in his collar, force him to kneel down and shoot him in the back.”

De la Cruz and Marsan, however, are still at large. “I will not rest until justice is served,” Santiago told the Inquirer. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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