Photos confirm IDs of suspects in killing of Dutch missionary

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    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO –  Allies of slain Dutch missionary Willem Geertman said more photos have confirmed the identities of two major suspects in his killing in Barangay Telebastagan here last July 3.

    Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) chair Joseph Canlas said the photos confirm the role  of the  two suspects named by Aurora Santiago, live-in partner of Geertman, in her murder complaint filed before the prosecutor’s office here last Wednesday.

    “More photos point to the same two suspects caught on closed circuit television camera as they fled on a motorcycle after Geertman was shot dead in L&S subdivision (in Barangay Telabastagan here),” he noted.

    Amid flooding still afflicting many areas of Pampanga, AMGL again reiterated its appeal for justice in the murder of Geertman, who had been executive director of the  executive director of Alay Bayan Luson Incorporated (ABI) which had been engaged in disaster-preparedness and relief operations in Central Luzon during floods for many years.

    “Geertman was a common figure during calamities as he led ABI in conducting relief and rehabilitation missions in the region.  This time of calamity, farmers from different provinces yearned for Geertman as he symbolized hope for the rural poor,” said Canlas.

    Canlas, who is also chair of the ABI board,  stressed that  “we will always remember Willem for his commitment to Central Luzon farmers and so are renewing our call for justice.”

    Last week, Geertman’s partner, who did not favor  a homicide and robbery case filed earlier by the local police,  lodged a murder case before the prosecutor’s officer here,  identifying two suspects as Marvin Marsan of Barangay Tangle in Mexico and Harold de la Cruz of Barangay Cacutud of Arayat, as well as four John Does in the killing of Geertman.

    Marsan, with alias Joshua,  was identified in the complaint  as an “asset” of one Army Lt.  Vidi Tababa, reportedly a member of the military intelligence.  While Marsan was allegedly the mastermind in the killing, De la Cruz was reportedly the one who shot Geertman.

    “The prosecution was able to obtain  photographs of Marsan that made his identification possible. 

    The photos tallied with the one on board on the motorcycle with De la Cruz  caught on the CCTV of the homeowners association of L&S subdivision  as they fled after the killing,” Canlas said.

    The case filed by the police last July 16 identified only De la Cruz among the suspects.

    “His (Geertman’s)  murder is a copycat of what took place during Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya in the region.  Now in Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, it is the same brutal measure being carried out by agents of the military,” Canlas added.

    Canlas recalled that  Geertman had “ served the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita, the affected farmers of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Act (Apeco) in Aurora, Pangasinan farmers who are affected by flash floods caused by San Roque dam and Zambales farmers affected by mining and farmers from different provinces who are usually affected by projects that destroy the environment.”

    “We honor Willem by pursuing the case against his killers and continuing his work of helping farmers in the region,” Canlas said.

    He recalled that “Willem used to remind us that we may be poor and powerless but our strength comes from our unity.”

    AMGL, and Anakpawis partylist and ABI, this time without Geertman, have been  conducting their relief operations dubbed as Oplan Sagip Kanayunan in far flung barangays in Central Luzon affected by the recent typhoon Gener and the ensuing southwest monsoon rains that inundated wide areas in the region.

    Recently, the operation also extended to poor farmers  also affected by floods in Binmaley and Calasiao towns in Pangasinan.

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