Sunday, March 25, 2007

Beltran's arraignment on Monday; calls on court to dismiss false charges against him in the interest of justice and truth

March 25, 2007

Beltran's arraignment on Monday; calls on court to dismiss false charges against him in the interest of justice and truth

Now on his 4th day of fasting, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran said that he is very much prepared to once more face his accusers in court tomorrow, March 25 as the arraignment for the sedition case against him is heard at the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila Branch 43 in Quezon City at 1:30 pm. He is still demanding the court dismiss all charges against him and immediately have him released in the interest of justice and truth.

"It has been months since the court heard my case, and it's a grievous violation against my rights. As an elected lawmaker, I have the right to immunity, but the courts have chosen to ignore this fact. The leadership of the House of Representatives led by Speaker Jose de Venecia have also done nothing to vouch for me and my rights. Despite all this, however, I remain in fighting form and I'm ready to prove that all the charges and testimonies made against me by the various 'pakawala' of the Macapagal-Arroyo government are out and out lies," he said.

Beltran, 74, has been fasting since Wednesday in protest of his continuing detention and the attacks against fellow progressive lawmakers, mainly Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo. He also began his fast in solidarity with and in gratitude to other political detainees all over the country protesting against his and Ocampo's incarceration.

"It's yet another testament to how twisted the judicial system in the country is, the way the courts are still slow to discern genuine and legitimate cases from purely politically-motivated ones, cases that in truth should be considered 'nuisance cases' and a waste of public funds. The charges of sedition and rebellion against me are all baseless, and the results of a malicious and vicious plot to weaken the progressive bloc of party-lists and their effective campaign of being the voice of the Filipino people in the congress. Malacanang and the Department of Justice led by Sec. Raul Gonzalez and well as national security adviser Norberto Gonzales continue to pursue these charges against me not because I am guilty of them, but because they are pikon. They are retaliating in this underhanded way for all the just and legitimate criticism we have made against them and their policies that attack the Filipino people's economic, political and human rights."

The court has denied Beltran 's motion to quash the government's move to proceed with Criminal Case No. 132943 or the case charging him with sedition. The court has ordered a full-blown trial. The decision was laid down by Acting Presiding Judge Thelma de los Santos.

The court is ordering that the sedition case against Beltran be deliberated in a full-blown hearing, denying the motion of Beltran's lawyers that the case be immediately dismissed on the grounds that Beltran's arrest on February 25, 2006 was illegal and that the arresting officers did not have a warrant for his arrest much less clear-cut charges to back it up. The court also denied the assertion of Beltran's lawyers that the court erred in holding that the crime of inciting to sedition can be absorbed in the crime of rebellion despite the clear ruling in People vs. Hernandez and People vs. Geronimo.

The court found the arguments of the lawyers against the coupling of the crime of inciting to sedition with the crime of rebellion. The court said that the crime consist of two separate acts each of which have their own criminal intents and hence should be tried separately.

Beltran's lawyers led by the Public Interest Law Center's President Atty. Romeo Capulong, Atty. Amylyn Sato and Atty. Rachel Pastores intend to file a motion for certiorari on the sedition case. They insist that sedition and rebellion charges should be heard as one and the same. They have been petitioning the court that the more serious case of rebellion should be heard while the sedition charges should be dropped. #



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