Monday, April 16, 2007

Beltran exhorts senatorial candidate Joker to be 'the good Arroyo'

Tuesday March 27, 2007

Beltran exhorts senatorial candidate Joker to be 'the good Arroyo'

A former client of senatorial candidate Joker Arroyo today said that the voting public's less than enthusiastic response to his latest bid to return to the senate might well be likely a result of the public's disappointment with his decision to run under the administration banner. "Many are also surprised with the line that Sen. Arroyo is taking on the issue of extrajudicial killings and the international attention the issue has been getting. People expect more Joker – after all, he's the 'good Arroyo," said Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran.

Arroyo was one of the Beltran's lawyers from 1984-1986 when Beltran was a political detainee under the Marcos dictatorship. Now, Beltran is again a political detainee and has been under detention since February 25, 2007.

Beltran himself said that he was very surprised and disappointed with Joker's stance on pressing political issues such as human rights and the extrajudicial killings. He said that Joker's vote in support of the Human Security Act or the anti-terrorism law was also tragic.

"He became known as a human rights lawyer and a civil rights defender; but now his stance seems to vary from day to day. It's most unfortunate that he has chosen to side with the Arroyo administration and defends its from ultimate responsibility and criminal liability for the extrajudicial killings. Many see him now as an apologist for the Arroyo government, and it has caused much confusion in how voters perceive him. If he didn't want to join the Genuine Opposition, he should have gone independent instead of throwing his lot with Team Unity and his infamous namesake of an illlegitimate president," said Beltran.

Beltran said that it the supporters and sympathizers of the progressive party-lists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, and Gabriela Women's Party are not encouraged to include Joker in the list of candidates they will vote for in the senate elections. "However much we want to support and endorse Arroyo's candidacy, it's become difficult for us because of his inconsistent stand on human rights and the extra-judicial killings. Many were shocked to hear him defend the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Arroyo government itself from culpability. It was a disappointment," he said.

"Joker would win more votes and once more secure a seat in the senate if he once more takes up the cudgels for human and civil rights in the Philippines. This is what the Filipino people expects of him."

Finally, the veteran labor leader turned legislator said that it was it was not too late for Joker Arroyo to disaffiliate himself from Team Unity and take a more correct and humane, internationalist stand on the issue of extrajudicial killings.

This morning, Beltran was allowed by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 under Judge Elmo Alameda to attend the Comelec hearing on the disqualification case filed by members of Akbayan Party-List. Beltran is Anakpawis Party-List's chairman and first nominee. Other nominees are Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano who also stands as party president; Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general Joel Maglunsod, Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap, and president of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) Ferdinand Gaite. #


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