Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rep. Beltran initiates 'freedom fast' in solidarity and gratitude with other detainees on fast for his and Satur's incarceration

Thursday March 22, 2007

Rep. Beltran initiates 'freedom fast' in solidarity and gratitude with other detainees on fast for his and Satur's incarceration

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran has began to fast in solidarity and gratitude to the various political detainees all over the country who are now also fasting in protest of his and Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo's incarceration.

Rep. Beltran's chief of staff Ina Alleco Silverio said that the congressman, 74, was very touched by the expressions of solidarity he continues to receive. She also said that Beltran was 'outraged' over the treatment Rep. Ocampo was receiving at the hands of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and Malacanang.

"His blood pressure has become even more erratic since Ka Satur got arrested. Ka Bel saw him being manhandled on television and his blood pressure shot up. It's been unstable the last three days. He himself, however, insisted on initiating this 'freedom fast' and has began to cut down his intake of food and water since last night. He is now subsisting on soda crackers," Silverio said.

The veteran labor leader and activist lawmaker has been taking some 10 various kinds of medicine daily to keep his blood pressure low. He began fasting last night by foregoing his dinner. This morning he did not eat his usual hospital-supplied breakfast and only ate crackers and drank plain water.

Silverio said that while Beltran remains upbeat about the chances of his being released, he is skeptical of the chances of being released while the Macapagal-Arroyo government is still in power.

"Ka Bel believes that the extrajudicial killings, abductions, harassment against members and institutions of the media will also be put to an end once Pres. Arroyo is out of office. As for his release, he is still hoping that the courts will see through the obvious malicious intent of the DOJ and the Malacanang government for siccing those false witnesses against him and dismiss the charges. We are all hoping justice will still be served in his case and way before 2010 when Pres. Arroyo officially steps down from office. Ka Bel believes that the Macapagal-Arroyo government is determined to keep him and Ka Satur under detention even if it means throwing the law and due process out the window. After all, Ka Bel himself has been incarcerated for over a year on false testimonies and fabricated evidence. On the strength of made-up testimonies by people he does not know and has never seen in his life, the courts have allowed him to be put under detention," she said.

Silverio said that the next hearing of the activist lawmaker's rebellion case will be on March 26.

The Metropolitan Trial Court of Metro Manila Branch 43 in Quezon City has denied Beltran 's 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, and the Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM) and other allied and sympathetic organizations 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.

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.

Ka Bel can be contacted via his celphone number 09278711080, or through his phone line in the Philippine Heart Center, 925-2401 loc 2432.#


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