Community Doctor Faces ‘Fabricated’ Murder Raps

A doctor serving the poor in urban and rural areas in the Central Visayas region has been slapped with murder charges.


A doctor serving the poor in urban and rural areas in the Central Visayas region has been slapped with murder charges.

On Christmas Eve, Dr. Oliver Almodiel Gimenez or Doc Ogie to his colleagues and patients received a subpoena. He is being charged with the killing of a soldier of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who was shot during an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental on September 8, 2008.

The murder case was filed at Bayawan City in Negros Oriental by Chief of Police Mario Rivera Jungco. Gimenez’ colleague in the non-government organization, Cristina Muñoz, is also named as a co-accused.

Gimenez was also charged with frustrated multiple murder, filed by Police Chief Inspector Fermin D. Armendarez of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG- Region 7) at the prosecutor’s office in Dumaguete City.

Again, Gimenez was accused of being a rebel. He was implicated in another encounter between the NPA and AFP in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental on September 25, 2008.

In the affidavits filed by the complainants in both cases, Gimenez, Muñoz and other suspects were identified only through photographs in the AFP’s order of battle apparently shown to the witnesses.

In an interview in his office in Cebu City, Gimenez said that he finds ridiculous the allegations against him.

Since 1993, Gimenez has been working as a community doctor. For five years, he worked as a program coordinator of the Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc. (VPHCS) in Bohol. VPHCS is an organization advancing community-based health programs in the Visayas. It is with the VPHCS that Gimenez practiced his profession in rural and urban poor communities.

Threats and harassment

In 2006, however, he was forced to leave Bohol.

Today, he is the executive director of the Cebu-based Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET), a consortium of non-government organizations in the Visayas.

Gimenez said, “I was forced to flee Bohol because I have been receiving death threats saying they were going to kill me next after Victor Olayvar, a known peasant leader in the province killed by the military in September 2006.”

“What do I think? Of course, this is a systematic attack because I am involved in organizations that are in many ways critical to government policies,” Gimenez added.

He recalled that in 2006, one of his staff in VPHCS- Bohol received flyers with caricatures portraying him as a rebel, demonizing his person and his organization working with local government units and agencies.

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