Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tantamount to Martial Law, Beltran says of the approved Anti-Terror Bill

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://

Tantamount to Martial Law, Beltran says of the approved Anti-Terror Bill

Anakpawis solon's illegal detention

prevents him from registering 'NO' vote to ATB

The Arroyo administration has illegally jailed one of the staunchest critics of House Bill 4839 or the Anti-Terror Bill (ATB), effectively preventing from registering his position and dissenting vote at the most crucial moment of its passage last night.

This was the sentiment of Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran as he was physically prevented by his continuing illegal detention in Camp Crame from participating in the Lower House plenary session that passed the ATB late last night, 116-27. Beltran is still in illegal police custody at the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Camp Crame.

"My illegal detention by the Arroyo administration has prevented me from participating in the lobbying efforts against the bills passage, in the plenary debates on the demerits and dangers of the ATB, in the scrutiny of its dangers to civil liberties, and finally in the moment of registering our individual votes to Committee Report No. 1154," Beltran said.

Beltran is one of the staunchest critics of the Anti-Terror Bill ever since it was first proposed in Congress, consistently opposing its passage on the grounds that "it is the kind of law that erodes further the civil and political rights of the people and provides legal impunity for the violations of political, civil, and human rights".

"The approval of HB 4839 is tantamount to Congress approving a de facto dictatorship," Beltran said, calling yesterday a "tragic and disastrous event for civil libertarians and human rights advocates all over the country and the globe".

Beltran expressed apprehensions that "the ATB will be used by the Arroyo administration to eliminate any remaining semblance of democratic space left in this country, intruding into the rights of the people and of legitimate, open, legal formations to assembly, redress of grievances, speech and _expression".

"I can personally attest to how such a bill can wipe out the remaining democratic space of our country. For the past month, I have experienced first-hand how it is to be illegally-arrested, held in police custody over fabricated charges of 'destabilization', jailed in solitary confinement, and denied of any due process. I fear, on concrete and actual grounds, that this will also be the experience of other progressive parliamentarians and countless civilians if the ATB is implemented by the draconian and dictatorial Arroyo administration," Beltran said.


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