Wednesday, March 01, 2006

House protective custody for Rep. Beltran urged

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran *
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:
URL: http://


*March 1, 2006*

"If helping the poor is a crime, and fighting for freedom is rebellion, then
I plead guilty as charged." --Crispin Beltran, August 1982 Supreme Court
hearing for Beltran's writ of *habeas corpus*

*House protective custody for Rep. Beltran urged; *

*release, filing of counter-charges eyed ***

In a press conference today, Rep. Beltran's family, physicians, lawyers, and
associates from Anakpawis Party List have urged the immediate implementation
of the House protective custody for still-incarcerated Anakpawis solon
Crispin Beltran.

They are also pressing for the dropping of Beltran's immediate and
unconditional release, and the dropping of fabricated charges against
Beltran and five other party list solons charged with rebellion.

The House of Representatives last night unanimously approved House
Resolution 1169 granting sanctuary against warrantless arrests and
protective custody to party list representatives Crispin Beltran and Rafael
Mariano of Anakpawis, Satur Ocampo, Joel Virador, and Teddy Casino of Bayan
Muna, and Liza Maza of Gabriela.

Beltran, however, remains in police custody in Camp Crame as of now.

*Humanitarian grounds*

Rep. Beltran's family and physicians are strongly supporting the House
protective custody on humanitarian grounds.

"It is of outmost importance and urgency that my husband be released on
humanitarian grounds, due to health reasons," Mrs. Rosario Beltran said. "Rep.
Beltran's transfer to a safer venue under protective custody will do more
for his health, well-being, and personal security, rather than being in the
custody of the police and the CIDG, which has unabashedly and treacherously
violated his civil and political rights," Anakpawis Spokesperson Sammy
Malunes said of the 73-year old solon.

Mrs. Beltran says that the 73-year old solon has been recovering from a mild
stroke since June 2005. Rep. Beltran was confined at the Far Eastern
University (FEU) hospital after his blood pressure shot up to 200/150. He
has been on a strict diet and has been taking maintenance medicine since
then. Mrs. Beltran also notes that Rep. Beltran's recovery has been
relatively slow due to the solon's advanced age.

A clinical abstract prepared by Dr. Reginaldo Pamugas and Dr. Melani
Hernandez-Sionzon on February 26, 2006 notes that Rep. Beltran also suffers
from hypertension and diabetes. He also has a medical history of
tuberculosis, vocal cord injury, heart murmur and angina.

Beltran has had inadequate sleep after being arrested, harassed, and
detained in Camp Crame since February 25. Shortly before the medical
consultation, Beltran was complaining of dizziness and a steady headache. In
jail, the former Martial Law political detainee has also been having
recurrent nightmares about being tortured, family say.

During the February 28 inquest by the CIDG, a heated stand-off between
Beltran, his lead legal counsel Atty. Romeo T. Capulong and Department of
Justice prosecutor Emanuel Velasco caused his blood pressure to shoot up to
180/120. His condition has stabilized since then.

Dr. Pamugas and Dr. Siozon have ordered that Beltran avoid stressful
conditions, monitor and control his blood pressure, and continue with
medication. They also recommended further evaluation and management,
preferably from a tertiary hospital.

"At present, hindi maayos ang ventilation ng kanyang kulungan sa Camp Crame.
Kailangang mailabas kaagad ang aking asawa sa piitin dahil
makaka-deteriorate ito sa kanyang kalagayan at kalusugan," Mrs. Beltran

*Illegal arrest and fabricated charges*

But more than protective custody from the House, Mrs. Beltran called for
"the immediate and unconditional release of Rep. Beltran, the dropping of
the rebellion charges against him and other progressive party list solons,
and the filing of counter charges against those involved in his illegal
arrest and malicious incarceration".

"Hindi sapat na bigyan ng pansamantalang sanctuary ang aking asawa dahil
wala siyang nagawang krimen. Katulag ng sinabi niya noong arestuhin siya
nang walang warrant at ikulong noong panahon ng Batas Militar, krimen ba ang
manglingkod sa masang anakpawis at makibaka para sa ating kalayaan?" she

Rep. Beltran's legal counsels reiterated that the circumstances surrounding
Beltran's illegal arrest and subsequent inquest on flimsy and fabricated
charges constitute a "grave mockery of the law".

"Upon clearly maliciously fabricated evidence, Cong. Beltran was allegedly
charged with inciting to sedition, a crime which carries with it the penalty
of less than six (6) years imprisonment. Under the Constitution, a member of
Congress enjoys the privilege from arrest while the Congress is in session
for a crime punishable by less than six (6) years imprisonment. Cong.
Beltran, being a duly elected member of Congress enjoying the same
privilege, should have been immediately released from detention. However, he
has been arbitrarily detained as of [February 27]," Atty. Romeo T. Capulong,
Atty. Rachel Pastores, and Atty. Amylyn Sato of the Public Interest Law
Center (PILC) said in a letter sent to House Speaker Jose de Venecia Monday,
urging de Venecia's protective custody of Beltran.

"Upon his detention at the CIDG, which is illegal and arbitrary, he was
shown a photocopy of an alleged warrant of arrest dated 7 October 1987
issued by Judge Edgardo Tutaan of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch LXXXIV. The case was already dismissed in 1988," the PILC noted.

The PILC is slated to file a set to file Motion for Judicial Determination
of Probably Cause at RTC of Makati this morning.

Atty. Capulong stressed that the rebellion charges against Beltran, the
other five progressive party list solons, et al were hastily filed and
should have been subjected to a preliminary investigation first. He called
on Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales and to judicial officials to not be
partisan, stressing that the law enforcement agencies involved in Rep.
Beltran's arrest have not right to manipulate and effect warrantless arrests
under the Presidential Proclamation 1017 and General Order Number 05. Atty.
Capulong said that the police should wait first for the results of the
preliminary investigation before effecting any warrant of arrest.

"Binabaluktot ni Gen. Arturo Lomibao at Justice Sec. Gonzales ang batas.
They're making a mockery of the judicial system. Masama at maling-mali ang
ginawa nila," he said.

In addition to the dismissal of the case, Anakpawis Spokesperson Sammy
Malunes also stressed that the veteran labor leader also availed of the
Presidential amnesty granted towards all rebellion cases during the term of
former Pres. Corazon Aquino. "The cases involved in these warrants were
both dismissed and quashed. This case is 'double-dead' and null and void
beyond any question. Why is this now being used to justify Rep. Beltran's
illegal arrest by the police. Not one of those charged with violations of
national security before the Marcos dictatorship was toppled in February
1986 was charged, prosecuted, and given an enforced warrant for the next two
decades, this is the first time anything of this sort has happened," Malunes

"Ka Bel's arrest and continuing detention is illegal and unconstitutional.
We will continue to campaign for his immediate and unconditional release,
and the condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 1017, General Order No.
05, and the political repression imposed by the Arroyo administration,"
Malunes said.

Even while in jail, Rep. Beltran castigated Pres. Arroyo to withdraw
Presidential Proclamation 1017 immediately. "Dapat i-withdraw niya ang PP
1017 sapagkat ito illegal at labag sa Saligang Batas. Ginagamit lamang ito
para sa harassment ng oposisyon na tumututol sa pananatili ni Gng. Arroyo sa
poder at upang kitilin nang tuluyan ang freedom of association and speech,"
Beltran said in a telephone interview February 26.

"Batas militar ang pinapairal ng rehimeng Arroyo sa deklarasyong 'state of
emergency'. Ang PP 1017 ay nakahanay kasama ng suspension ng writ of habeas
corpus. Ito ay maihahalintulad sa Martial Law "declaration na PD 1081 noong
1972," the Martial Law survivor and former political detainee added.

* *

*Still unbent and unbound*

Despite the intensified political harassment faced by progressive party list
solons and threats to his health, Rep. Beltran has remained bravely defiant
to the injustices committed by the state and willing to serve the people
inside and outside of Congress, family say.

Beltran was a former political detainee under Martial Law, from 1982 to
1985, yet this does not faze him. "Nananawagan ako sa mga kasama na
magpatuloy ng gawain na isulong ang interes ng masang anakpawis, kasama ang
manggagawa, magbubukid, maralitang tagalunsod, kabataan, at iba pa.
Ipagpatuloy ang pakikibaka para makamit ang tagumpay...Ako ay nagsisikap na
makalaya sa ilegal na pagkakakulong na ito, para makasama kayo sa mga laban
sa loob at labas ng Kongreso," Beltran said in the February 26 interview.

"Sa buong panahong kami ay mag-asawa, ibinuhos ni Ka Bel ang kalakhan ng
kanyang panahon sa paglilingkod sa mga manggagawa at maliliit na mamamayan
at pakikipaglaban para sa kanilang karapatan," Mrs. Beltran said. "Nasa
likod niya ang buong pamilya sa bawat gawain niya para sa bayan," she added.

Mrs. Beltran said that "the Arroyo regime is no different, and perhaps even
worse, than the Marcos dictatorship". "It is a great injustice that my
husband, who has fought for the peoples' democratic rights since the Marcos
dictatorship and has survived all the years of incarceration, harassment and
repression this entailed, should be again subjected to these illegal,
treacherous, and undemocratic acts of suppression by the Arroyo
dictatorship," Mrs. Beltran said.

"Nilabanan niya ang diktadurya para maibalik ang demokrasya. Pero sadyang
malupit ang estado. Binubusalan pa rin ang mga sumisigaw para sa
katarungan," Mrs. Beltran said. ###


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