Friday, April 20, 2007

Beltran thanks IPU officials for pleading on behalf of his freedom; says Arroyo government turning him into a political martyr

Friday April 20, 2007

Beltran thanks IPU officials for pleading on behalf of his freedom; says Arroyo government turning him into a political martyr

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran gave his personal thanks to the officials of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and its Human Rights Committee as they visited him in his hospital detention room this afternoon at the Philippine Heart Center. IPU Human Rights Committee vice chair Canadian Sen. Sharon Carstairs, IPU secretary-general Anders Johnsson and human rights committee secretary Ingeborg Schwarz visited Beltran as part of the IPU's fact-finding mission into the political repression against progressive lawmakers in the Philippines.

Beltran said that despite the refusal of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration led by its officials such as Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita have refused to give in to the IPU's appeals for his release, he remains grateful to the IPU for speaking on his behalf. He also said that he remains hopeful that justice will still be served in his case and he will soon walk free.

"I am grateful to Mr. Johnsson, Sen. Carstairs and Ms. Schwarz for pleading my case with the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. As officials of an international institution upholding the human and political rights of parliamentarians, they have not failed me or my colleagues in Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women's Party. My only hope is that the IPU will continue to take an interest and concern regarding my case and expose to the rest of the international community the worsening attacks against activist lawmakers in the Philippines."

Anakpawis officials in the meantime led by Rep. Rafael Mariano and secretary-general Cherry Clemente gave a token of appreciation to the IPU officials, a framed certificate.

In the meantime, the 74-year old Beltran reiterated his innocence of the sedition and rebellion charges against him, and once more denounced the illegal and unlawful circumstances that surrounded in arrest in February 25, 2006. He said that the warrant the arresting officers showed him as the one issued him 25 years ago concerning charges of rebellion laid against him by the Marcos dictatorship. The charges were dismissed in 1986 by Judge Edurado Tutaan of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Tutaan of the QC RTC Branch 84. He was also cleared by the Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police (PC/INP) and the court. The government prosecutor assigned to his case was incumbent Department of Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez.

"I am an innocent man being denied my liberty and rights. By refusing to release me, the Macapagal-Arroyo adminisration daily affirms its reputation as a politically repressive government. What has been done to me and what continues to be done against me is political repression, an act of a burgeoning dictatorship. It is my hope that Filipinos as well as the rest of the international community will be made aware of what is being done to me and see it as an attack against civil liberties and political rights in the country. The Arroyo government is making a political martyr out of me, the same way the Marcos dictatorship made a martyr of labor leader Felixberto Olalia," he said.

Olalia was arrested on August 12, 1982 on charges of rebellion. He was 78. He died December 3 the following year while under house arrest.

Rep. Beltran's wife Mrs. Rosario-Soto Beltran in the meantime denounced anew the heartlessness of the Arroyo government. "Inosente ang asawa ko. Kailangang siyang palayain dahil ligal ang ginawang pag-aresto sa kanya, at peke ang lahat ng testimonya ng mga testigo laban sa kanya. Nalalantad lang lalo ang kabulukan ng sistema ng batas sa kasong ito ni Ka Bel dahil mismo ang proseso ng batas ay binabaluktot ng gobyerno para lang hwag siyang palayain." #


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