Saturday, March 03, 2007

Beltran's sedition case hearing scheduled on March 26 as QC Metro Manila Branch 43 denies Ka Bel's motion to quash government motion

Saturday March 3, 2007

Beltran's sedition case hearing scheduled on March 26 as QC Metro Manila Branch 43 denies Ka Bel's motion to quash government motion on sedition charges

The Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila Branch 43 in Quezon City had DENIED Anakpawis Representative Crispin's Beltran motion to quash the government's move to proceed with Criminal Case No. 132943 or the case charging Rep. Beltran with sedition deliberated in a full-blown trial. Anakpawis Party-list, the Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM) and organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said that they will mount continued protests against the decision and Beltran's continuing arrest as The court laid down that Rep. Beltran's arraignment will proceed on March 26, 2007 at 1:30 pm.

The decision laid down by Acting Presiding Judge Thelma de los Santos was received by Rep. Beltran yesterday.

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 justified its decision to dismiss Beltran's motion to quash by stating the following: "There exists the presumption of regularity in the performances of official duties by the arresting officers and the inquest prosecutors, hence the information was properly filed. Consequently, the Court acquired jurisdiction over the accused. Likewise, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties is best to be disputed by the defense in a full blown trial and not in the mere resolution of this 'Motion for Reconsideration."

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.

"I am most disappointed and angered by this decision. The courts continually refuse to hear my arguments and the motion of my counsels. I know that the Department of Justice and Malacanang itself are behind the moves to sandbag my case to ensure that I remain incarcerated. The DOJ and the elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) who arrested me February last year made an unlawful and tried to make up for it by coming out with bogus witnesses against me and dragging out the rebellion charges against me laid down two decades ago. I feel like a broken record having to repeat this again and again, but the court remains deaf and listens only to the DOJ and Malacanang," he said.

"I have been detained for over a year now on crimes I did not commit. The fact that the arresting officers also made an illegal arrest should have been grounds to have me immediately released as well. My incarceration is an assertion of the Macapagal-Arroyo government's politically repressive will; part and parcel of its campaign to wipe out the progressive party-lists by criminalizing their leaders and representatives. We see through these schemes, and we will continue to expose the government for these inhumane and unjust acts.

Beltran's case continues to attract international attention and the campaign for his release garners the support of internationalist lawmakers. Last Thursday, British lawmaker Neil Gerrard on behalf of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP) filed an Early Day Motion (EDM) urging " the UK Government to express to the government of President Arroyo the need to ensure that political killings stop, to bring to justice those responsible, and to release Congressman Crispin Beltran."

As of last Thursday, the EDM (equal to a resolution in the Philippine Congress) had the support of 53 other Members of Parliament. #


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