Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ka Bel elated over opportunity to personally present his case to Inter-Parliamentary Union officials

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ka Bel elated over opportunity to personally present his case to Inter-Parliamentary Union officials tomorrow 230 PM

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today reiterated his gratitude to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the members of its delegation to the Philippines led by IPU human rights committee chair Canadian senator Sharon Carstairs, IPU secretary-general Anders Johnson, and IPU HR committee secretary Ingeborg Schwarz.

"I am most grateful to the IPU for its continuing concern for the plight of progressive lawmakers in the Philippines. I am also touched by Sen. Carstairs' expressions of concern for my health and welfare," Beltran said. "I am certain that their call for my immediate release will all the more bring international attention to the worsening human and political rights situation in the Philippines," he said. "I am elated that finally, I will be able to present the circumstances surrounding the case to a body who swears to be fair and objective, and acknowledge my right to defend myself."

The IPU mission members are set to visit Beltran tomorrow at 2:30 pm in his detention hospital room at the Philippine Center. Beltran's wife Rosario Soto-Beltran as well as officials of Anakpawis party-list including Rep. Rafael Mariano will also be present. Beltran said that he will share with the IPU officials the circumstances surrounding his arrest last year and the rigmarole of court proceedings that have taken place since then.

"There is no basis to have my case arraigned, but more than enough reasons to have the charges against me dropped and myself released from incarceration. I am being detained by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration purely out of political spite and repression," he said.

Government prosecutor Raul Gonzalez

The 74-year old Beltran lamented the Quezon City Municipal Trial Court 43 and the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150's refusal to acknowledge the illegal process that was utilized to facilitate the government's arrest of his person last year, February 25. Beltran was arrested on a rebellion charge that was already dismissed in November 1986 by Judge Eduardo 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.

"The charges laid down against me 25 years ago have been resurrected, and the same warrant was used to justify my arrest. The least Sec. Gonzalez could do is admit that he is aware these particular circumstances that I'm talking about and admit that the warrant used against me last year was already dismissed along with the rebellion charges," he said.

The activist lawmaker said that he has no intentions of meeting the same fate as Kilusang Mayo Uno founding chairman Felixberto Olalia who expired while under the guard of the PC-INP, under house arrest in his home in Quezon City. Eight after he was arrested on August 13, 1982, Olalia's detention weakened his heart and respiratory system, making him more susceptible to heart disease. Ka Bert died on December 3, 1983.

"I am an innocent man who has done nothing but serve the Filipino people through militant advocacy of workers' rights and social justice issues. The Macapagal-Arroyo government has denied me my rights as an elected lawmaker, and denied me my liberty for the last 14 months. In the name of justice and the truth, I demand that the charges against me be immediately dropped and the Arroyo government issue an apology to myself, my family, to Anakpawis Party-List and the broad constituency of workers, farmers, and urban and rural poor whom we serve," he said. #


Post a Comment

<< Home