Karapatan reiterates call for JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN
July 3, 2014
Reference: Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson, 0917-5616800
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580
“Today, we remember the second year of Willem Geertman’s death with condemnation to the BS Aquino government’s perpetration of impunity and continuing human rights violations. The government can deny the existence of impunity in this country, but cases such as Willem’s and other victims of extrajudicial killings show that BS Aquino is a big fat liar,” Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.
Willem Geertman was executive director of Alay Bayan-Luzon Inc. (ABI). Men riding in tandem gunned down Geertman in front of the ABI office in Angeles City , Pampanga. Geertman spent most of his life in the Philippines . He organized peasant communities in Central Luzon and helped them in their plight against destructive mining and anti-people government programs. He was against the Aurora-Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) project of the Angara’s, a political dynasty in Aurora province. The APECO project displaced the peasants, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples of Aurora .
Geertman’s position against APECO has earned the ire of those behind the project. Karapatan and Geertman’s family, at the onset, asserted that the killing of Geertman was politically motivated and not simply a case of robbery and homicide as earlier resolved by the office of the City Prosecutor. This belief was confirmed last March 2014 when Pampanga Regional Trial court ruled that his killing was premeditated MURDER.
Also, on March 2014, Marvin Marzan, suspect for the Geertman killing was arrested. Although he was arrested for a different offense, he is currently jailed and facing charges for the murder of Geertman. “We call on the accused Marvin Marzan to tell all, including all those involved in the killing,” Palabay said. “It is not enough to prosecute one of the hired killers. The mastermind of killing, those who paid to kill Geertman, should also be prosecuted and convicted,” Enriquez added.
As of March 2014, Karapatan has documented 192 victims of extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino government. ###
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.