Court convicts gunman in Dutch activist’s slay in 2012
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — A court here on Monday sentenced a man to life imprisonment for the killing of Dutch activist Wilhelmus Geertman in 2012.
Judge Christine Marie Capule of the Regional Trial Court Branch 48 found Marvin Marzan Nuguid guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the murder of Geertman. The decision was handed down two days before the seventh anniversary of the Dutch’s murder.
Nuguid was ordered to pay P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral indemnity, P75,000 as exemplary damages and P50,000 as temperate damages with 6-percent interest per year.
However, Nuguid was acquitted in another case for robbery because of the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt.
The court allowed to credit the time Nuguid spent at the Pampanga Provincial Jail here since 2014.
Geertman’s girlfriend, Aurora Santiago, welcomed the conviction but said justice was “not complete.” “It has been established that the gunman was found guilty but the mastermind is still at large,” she told the Inquirer by telephone.
Geertman, then 67, was shot dead on July 3, 2012, as he entered the compound of Alay Bayan Inc. (ABI), a nongovernmental disaster management organization based in Luzon.
Geertman, former ABI executive director, had just come from a bank in Angeles City.
Human rights defenders alleged that Nuguid was used by military and police agents.
Journalist Fred Villareal testified that he saw two men holding Geertman by his shoulders, before forcing him to kneel and shooting him once on the chest.
ABI employee Redegonda Ybañez, one the nine witnesses presented by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, testified that the eyes of the attacker matched those of Nuguid’s.
Nuguid, in a 2016 interview, claimed he was drying beer malt in his house in Mexico town, also in Pampanga province, when the killing happened. The police arrested him for a robbery case in Nueva Ecija province.
Robbery and murder
The trial was halted but proceeded only in 2015 after the Department of Justice approved the revision of the case into robbery and murder.
Geertman had worked in development programs in poor communities in the Philippines for over 40 years. Before his death, he helped poor folk in Aurora province in their campaign against mining projects, landlessness, illegal fishing and timber poaching.
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