Monday, April 17, 2006

New Palace PR gimmick: 'Pardon' at a time of Political Repression

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Reference: Rep. Crispin Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 931-6615 Email:

April 17, 2006

New Palace PR gimmick: 'Pardon' at a time of Political Repression��Beltran

The Palace's commutation of the death sentences is nothing but a gesture of hypocrisy and political expediency especially since political repression continues unabated, illegally-detained Congressman Crispin Beltran said today.

Issuing the statement while in police detention at the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame, Beltran assailed the Palace decision as a "brash move reeking of political expediency and hypocrisy".

"The crime victims are right in saying that the President's decision is ill-advised and non-consultative. The President's sweeping commutation of the death penalty manifests how the Palace will brashly continue to disregard the existing laws and circumvent existing judicial and legislative structures in order to project herself as a legitimate and exemplary leader, whatever her idea of that is," Beltran said.

"Timing the proclamation even during Holy Week, the President is obviously trying to assume the mantle of a holier than thou being, cleansed from sin. She is falsely trying to project herself off to the Church as a political saint, perhaps in last-ditch hopes of securing the clergy's silence on such anti-people programs such as Charter Change and mining liberalization," Beltran said.

Actions belie intentions

"Her actions belie her intentions. Had this decision been arrived at through a more consultative and sincere process and proclaimed in an utterly different political and social context, maybe I would have viewed her decision in a more appreciative light. But as a first-hand victim of the Arroyo government's vile political persecution, I see that all these 'penal reforms' of late are nothing than another Palace PR gimmick designed to project Pres. Arroyo as a humane and pro-justice President," Beltran said.

"But Pres. Arroyo is anything but humane and pro-justice in light of the political persecution she condones and wages against Filipinos who are calling for her resignation from office. The Arroyo administration is anything but democratic in light of the record-high killings of activists, unabated crime rate, and the political repression it wages," Beltran said.

Ironic and hypocritical

The 73-year old solon scored his continuing illegal detention in Camp Crame as compelling proof of the Arroyo administration's "two-faced, hypocritical stance". "She has already made a big show of conditionally pardoning 37 elderly convicts in Bilibid last month. Now, she flaunts herself as lifting the death penalty for convicted criminals on humanitarian grounds, yet her administration, particularly the Department of Justice and the PNP, have repeatedly denied my requests��whether on humanitarian, political, and legal grounds��to be released from police custody as I have not been convicted of any crime," Beltran said.

"It is ironic to see Pres. Arroyo proclaiming such things while overtly pushing for the criminalization of her political critics," Beltran said. "Is she just using penal reforms to justify her administration's other human rights violations?" he posed.

"Perhaps the Arroyo administration wants to decongest jails in order to make room for more political detainees," Beltran said.

The 73-year old solon was arrested without warrant on February 25, illegally-detained and subjected to inquest proceedings despite his objections afterwards. He remains under police custody at the PNP General Hospital at Camp Crame, where he was confined since March 2 for hypertension. ###


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