Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V,    Special Edition      June 6, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











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Defector Calls for GMA Ouster

Negros Oriental’s No. 2 intelligence officer called for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after defecting to the New People’s Army, saying “people very, very close to Malacañang” and even “inside the Palace” are running big time-illegal gambling and smuggling operations, including large-scale sugar smuggling in Negros.


BACOLOD CITY – Citing what he described as “rampant corruption” and “injustice,” a veteran police intelligence officer who defected to the New People’s Army (NPA) said he agreed with calls by several quarters for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“GMA (Arroyo) should be ousted,” Sr. Police Officer 2 Joel Geollegue, said. “Dapat na talagang palitan ang gobyernong ito.” (This government must really be replaced.)

Geollegue, the deputy provincial officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Negros Oriental, formally declared his defection Sunday June 5, in an NPA camp in the southern Negros hinterlands.

Rebel camp in southern Negros where the police intelligence officer announced his defection PHOTO BY JAIME ESPINA

The police officer brought with him four high-powered firearms, including an Ingram machine pistol, although he did not say whether these were government-issued. Although he said he expected a “smear campaign” against him once news of his defection broke, Geollegue said he was more worried about the effects such a campaign would have on his family.

Nevertheless, he said he was confident they would weather the storm “because I believe I have made them understand the justness of my cause.” His wife shared the same opinion. “We are ready to answer all their questions and anything they throw against him.”

Geollegue said he had consulted his superiors and colleagues in the CIDG on his defection and, “although most of them tried to persuade me not to do it, they all said they respected my decision and supported me.”

He sought out the NPA guerrillas some two months ago and had been in the protection of an NPA platoon since then. Following his declaration, an NPA officer read a statement welcoming Geollegue, who now goes by the nom de guerre “Ka Reymar,” into rebel ranks and saying the defection was proof of the justness of their cause.

Ex-death squad member

Geollegue’s formal announcement of defection came a day before his 49th birthday and effectively capped a 28-year career that began when he enlisted as an Army private in 1977 battling Muslim secessionists and included a stint as a member of the Military Intelligence and Security Unit (MISU) or what he described as the “death squad” of the defunct Philippine Constabulary’s Davao Metropolitan District Command.

The MISU, which Geollegue said caused him the “greatest regret” of his career, was tasked to “go after high profile targets, whether dissidents, criminals and even government officials and scalawag servicemen who had become too big a problem for government.”

However, he acknowledged the unit was responsible for many human rights violations and the deaths of “many innocents” wrongly accused of links to the rebel movement. He said Davao’s notoriety as a hunting ground of NPA assassination squads or Sparrow units was partly the handiwork of the MISU.

He added that among their targets then were media practitioners accused of “helping spread anti-government propaganda.” However, he declined to discuss specific cases.

But he warned that the recent wave of killings of activists, dissenters and journalists showed an “emerging pattern” similar to his MISU days and said this was part of government’s “grand design” to silence critics and “the oppressed.”

Coup predictions

He also predicted a “90 percent possibility” of a coup launched by a “big group” of disgruntled troops composed mostly of mid-level officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel but also including “many former key players” in past coup attempts.

However, while not calling on them to call off their plans, Geollegue said, “I invite them to join me” in defecting to the rebels because “this is our cause, the cause of the people.”

Trumped up charges

Geollegue said he was driven to defect after giving up hope on finding justice on what he described as trumped up robbery charges filed against him in 1993, partly on the instigation of fellow police officers, for which he was convicted to a four to six-year sentence. He said the final straw was the recent affirmation of his sentence by the Supreme Court.

“I have no more option,” he said. “I will serve here and am willing to accept whatever tasks the comrades see fit to give me.” He said his conviction was the result of collusion between the police officers who he said he had placed under surveillance for running a criminal syndicate that engaged in, among others, drug running in southern Negros and the lower court judge, now retired, who heard the case.

The subsequent affirmations of his sentence by the Court of Appeals and high court, he said, were helped along by government officials, including some “very close to Malacañang,” to whom the rogue cops enjoyed close links.

But even before his conviction was affirmed, Geollegue said he had already been “very frustrated” with the rampant corruption and criminality in the armed services, particularly the police, and government inaction.

“Syndicates are free (to operate) because of protection from authorities, from the highest levels to the lowest ranks,” he said. “Honest officers are very, very rare.”

Although he said he had considered resigning “many, many times,” the demands of duty kept him from leaving until the final affirmation of his conviction.

Geollegue also accused “people very, very close to Malacañang” and even “inside the Palace” of running or protecting big time illegal gambling and smuggling operations. “Among the rackets of these well-known personalities is large scale sugar smuggling” in collusion with some sugar planters’ groups, Geollegue said.

Although he declined to mention names, saying he did not have documented proof in his possession, Geollegue said the current exposes on jueteng were “102 percent accurate” and that, in Negros Occidental’s fifth district, protection for illegal gambling operations was provided by “influential persons…up to the level of congressman.”

The district’s representative to the House is presidential brother-in-law Ignacio Arroyo who, along with First Gentleman Jose Miguel and Pampanga Rep. Mikey, the President’s son, has been accused of receiving huge payoffs from jueteng lords.

Geollegue hails from Himamaylan City, which belongs to the fifth district.

The only way for government to save itself from overthrow, Geollegue said, was for it to “recognize the plight of the poor. Since I came to the hills, I have seen real poverty up close and how government has done absolutely nothing about it.”

He said he took pride in the fact that “I have not amassed any wealth” because he refused to be corrupted, even if he admitted it had been hard for him to support his family on his pay alone. Geollegue is married to Ivy Mejorada, with whom he has two children – Krishna, 18 and a college student, and Karl Jovy, seven months old.

Contacted by phone, his wife Ivy said her husband’s decision to defect was “very painful for us” and made it more difficult for her to raise their children. But, she added, “I cannot blame him for his decision.”

She thanked the rebels “for welcoming him with open arms. Since we cannot find justice in the lowlands, it is right that we seek justice among the people and those who help the oppressed.” The last time they met was Holy Week, she said.

Although she admitted their daughter had taken Geollegue’s decision very hard, “she came to accept it after some (of her husband’s) comrades explained the reasons for his defection to her. Now she is okay and is even proud of him.”

Asked what his birthday wish was, Geollegue replied: “Justice, a peaceful and quiet life, and good health for my family.” Bulatlat



© 2004 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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