Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rep Crispin Beltran's arrest and incarceration mark first year tomorrow, February 25

Saturday February 24, 2007

Rep Crispin Beltran's arrest and incarceration mark first year tomorrow, February 25

"Sinusuntok na ni Ka Bel ang mga pader sa tinding galit sa kasamaan ng gobyernong Macapagal-Arroyo"

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran wil have spent one year under incarceration tomorrow, February 25. Beltran was arrested the same date last year after Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of national emergency and imposed Presidential Decree 1017. Beltran has been charged with inciting to sedition and rebellion. Because of heart problems, he has been detained at the Philippine Heart Center instead of Camp Crame where the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police have initially placed.

Beltran's daughter and Free Ka Bel Movement spokesperson Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, 43, said that Ka Bel has been growing increasingly frustrated with his unjust incarceration and the snail-pace movement of his case in the courts, including the Supreme Court.

"Ka Bel's health remains unstable and it's directly related to his incarceration. It's very had for an innocent man to be denied his freedom and accused of a crime he did not commit. Even before his arrest and incarceration, Ka Bel has always had problems sleeping because his brain is perpetually preoccupied wit his work and duties as a progressive legislator and a mass leader. Now, after a year of being detained within four walls inside a small room, he has virulent insomnia," she said.

Ofelia said that in the last week as the anniversary of his arrest neared, Ka Bel had been literally hitting the walls.

"His fists and knuckles are bruised black and blue because late last week he got so angry reading the newspapers, reading about GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership's arrogance in denying and discrediting the Alston report. He started hitting the wall with his fists. He was so angry and frustrated,' she said. "My father is ordinarily a mild and patient man, but he can no longer contain his anger against the injustices of the government, including its false charges against him."

"My father is innocent, he has committed no crime against this government. His outspokenness against the corruption and the worsening repressive character of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is all within the boundaries of the law – guaranteed by the Constitution. What the Arroyo government through the DOJ has done is treacherous and underhanded. God knows where Sec. Gonzalez found the witnesses who testified against Ka Bel, and how much he bribed them," she said.

Rep. Beltran, 74, has not been allowed to leave the immediate hospital premises since September when he filed counter-charges against his accusers led by Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez.

Ofelia said that on Monday, February 26, Anakpawis Party-list, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM) with people's organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) will hold an ecumenical mass and a protest rally in front of the Philippine Heart Center to protest against Ka Bel's continuing incarceration.

"We will continue to press for Ka Bel's release. He is not a criminal, and it is the Arroyo government that continues to act criminally by continuing to detain him and denying his rights as an elected representative in Congress," she said. "UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston has also expressed deep concern over Ka Bel's detention and said that he will do his best to bring it to the attention of the United Nations and the rest of the international human rights community." #


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