Thursday, October 20, 2005

News release re: filing; copy of motion for recon at SC

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 20, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff

Urban poor groups, Anakpawis file motion for reconsideration after Supreme Court thumbs down motion for TRO on NorthRail Project

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today joined members and leaders of urban poor groups Stop NorthRail Project Coalition and the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) in filing a motion for reconsideration regarding the Supreme Court’s decision against the motion filed last week calling for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the controversial NorthRail project. The original motion was filed by UP Law Center Atty. Harry Roque, and he’s the same lawyer filing for a motion for reconsideration on behalf of the urban poor residents affected by the Northrail project. The petitioners were also accompanied by Prof. Marwil Llasos, another lawyer from the UP law center.

"We urge the High Court to reconsider its decision and impose a TRO on this controversial project given the many unsettled issues and unanswered questions surrounding it. The Senate has not been able to hold a full- blown investigation on the matter given the refusal to cooperate on the part of the project proponents. The fact that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is keeping tightly-lipped on the project and continues to refuse surrendering official documents pertaining to the contract is already cause for strong suspicion and grounds for a TRO," he said.

Beltran has expressed full support for the study the counsels have presented to the last Senate investigations on the possible anomalous nature of the NorthRail project contract between the Macapagal-Arroyo government and China. He said that UP Law Center’s paper has made a strong impact and opened a massive can of worms and deserves to be discussed in detail in the Senate and its recommendations acted upon -- including the recommendation that the contract be annulled and civil, criminal and administrative charges be filed against the proponents and signatories on the side of the Philippine government.

He also decried what he said were Malacanang’s attempts to undermine the credibility of the attorneys and members of the research team. There are reports that Malacanang is pressuring the UP administration to have the members of the team would be fired from their posts at the UP Law Center. Beltran said that the University of the Philippines administration should stand firmly in defense of academic freedom and independence, and not allow Malacanang to pressure the UP Law Center into firing the lawyers.

Beltran himself has already filed five resolutions in Congress calling for investigations into the impact of the project in urban poor residents; the possible violations of the contract provisions on Philippine economic sovereignty laws; and the alleged corruption that's going in the National Housing Authority's (NHA) relocation operations in Bulacan. The resolutions are addressed to the House Committees on Good Government and Civil and Professional Regulation, as well as to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

"The Northrail Project has been highly controversial from day one, and was kept under close wraps. So secret it is that it did not even undergo the scrutiny much less approval of the Senate. Now the impact of the project implementation is already being felt -- translating in the chaos erupting in the communities being demolished to make way for the project," he said. "I fully support the recommendation of the UP Law Center study team that civil, criminal and administrative charges be filed against the Philippine government officials who pushed for this infamous project. These officials, of course, are led by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Mr. Noli de Castro."

The veteran labor leader said that the nitty-gritty of the Northrail project deserve to be exposed because they will reveal to what extent the RP government went to secure the contract which is seriously prejudiced against the Philippines. "It's still shocking to realize how far and how low the Macapagal-Arroyo government will sink and how much it will compromise to secure loans," he said. "What's most outrageous in this is that it's the Filipino people who will pay these off and suffer the consequences.' #



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