Monday, April 09, 2007

Macapagal-Arroyo government would do better to dismiss all charges against progressive lawmakers before Inter-Parlimentary Union delegation arrives

Monday , April 9, 2007

Macapagal-Arroyo government would do better to dismiss all charges against progressive lawmakers before Inter-Parlimentary Union delegation arrives next week, April 18

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration should dismiss the sedition and rebellinon charges against him as well as all other criminal charges against fellow progressive lawmakers fellow Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo, Joel Virador, and Teddy Casino; and Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza Maza before the delegation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) arrives in the country next week, April 18, 2007.

"Unless the Macapagal-Arroyo government acts in interest of justice and dismiss all the malicious and fabricated charges against the bloc of progressive lawmakers, it will be subjected to even greate international condemnation," Beltran said.

"There is no masking the Arroyo administration's true motives to stifle and crush the most militant voices of dissent in the House of Representatives. It has been resorting to the most underhanded means to criminalize the progressive party-lists and their lawmakers, and this has not escaped the attention of the international community. We will expose down the smallest detail all the various machinations and mechanisms the Arroyo administration and its various agencies have employed to criminalize us when the IPU delegation arrives in the country next week.

The IPU delegation investigating the worsening repression against progressive lawmakers will be led by Sen. Sharon Carstairs of Canada and the IPU's secretary general, Anders B. Johnsson of Sweden. Carstairs is vice president of the IPU's committee on human rights of parliamentarians, which is headed by Senator Franklin Drilon. The Geneva-based IPU counts 143 national parliaments and seven regional parliamentary assemblies.

While in the country, the IPU leaders will conduct dialogues with House Speaker Jose de Venecia and Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr., human rights committee chairman; justice secretary Raul Gonzalez; defense sec. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr; interior and local local government sec. Ronaldo Puno; National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez; Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon; Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.; Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.; and Commission on Human Rights chair Purificacion Quisumbing.

"I am grateful to the IPU for its continuing support for my campaign to be released and its constant monitoring of the developments in my case. When Sen. Carstairs and secretary-general Johnson arrive, I will make sure to thank them. The IPU is an internationally recognized institution and its interest and subsequent alarm over the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines and in particular the persecution of activist lawmakers will further train the spotlight on the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Sec Raul Gonzalez, on the meantime, should try to learn better manners when the foreign dignitaries arrive and not resort to name calling when unable to credibly debunk the conclusions of their findings,' he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator has been incarcerated since February 25, 2006 and has consistently refuted all charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion laid down against him by the Arroyo government. He has refused to be arraigned and said that he will exhaust legal measures to demand his release and the dismissal of all charges.

"Not a single iota in the charge sheets against me can be proven true. The testimonies of the witness the Department of Justice has scrounged up from nowhere are all fabricated. In the interest of justice, I hope that the Supreme Court will lay down a temporary restraining order on the Makati and Quezon City lower courts where the cases against me are being heard and take jurisidction over them. I am most certain that the Supreme Court justices, once they examine the details surrounding my arrest as well as the various supposed evidence and testimonie pointing towards my alleged guilt will immediately see the falsity of the charges against me," he said.#


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