Defector Calls for
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.
BY JAIME ESPINA
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
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.
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.”
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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