Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Detained solon presses for temporary release to attend Congress special closing session from June 4 to 6

May 30, 2007

Detained solon presses for temporary release to attend Congress special closing session from June 4 to 6

The lawyers of detained lawmaker Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran will file new motion asking the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 under Judge Elmo Alameda to allow Beltran to attend the special closing session of the 13th Congress of the House of Representatives on June 3, 5 and 6. Beltran recently received his invitation to the special session and said that he should be allowed to attend. His counsels led by Public Interest Law Center (PILC) president Romeo Capulong expressed hope the Makati RTC will see the just merits of the petition and approve their client's temporary release so he can perform his legislative duties.

"It's been 15 months since I was illegally arrested and unjustly detained, and all that time I was unable to perform my tasks as an elected legislator. I seek the indulgence, compassion and understanding of the court and allow me to participate in the last three sessions of the 13th Congress," said Beltran.

Beltran said that he intends to maximize the three days and deliver a privileged speech in plenary; consult with leaders of the sectoral organizations whose concerns fall under Anakpawis' advocacy; get a personal update on the major bills and resolutions pending in the various committees he is a member of, particularly the Committee on Labor; and consult with House Speaker Jose de Venecia on the resolution of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) calling for his (Beltran's) immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

"I also seek the opportunity to thank my colleagues, fellow lawmakers who have extended their support to the campaign for my release. In the last 15 months, there have been lawmakers who crossed party-lines to oppose my continuing detention," he said.

Beltran also said that there was a chance that the special session could also be used as a venue for the sudden approval of pending Malacanang priority bills. "In that case, I will insist on the passage of HB 345, or the bill legislating a P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers. The counterpart bill was already passed by the Senate, while congress also approved it. Malacanang only pulled strings and its allies violated House rules to have the measure recalled. This is the least that the 13th Congress can give Filipino workers, to allow this bill to be passed. Let Pres. Arroyo veto it if she chooses, but congress should not be a party to the betrayal," he said.

The campaign for Rep. Beltran's release continues to gain international attention and support. Only recently, the spokesperson of the Free Ka Bel Movement, unionist Dennis Maga was featured standing inside a steel cage on the lawn of the New Zealand House of Parliament where Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was holding a press conference with New Zealand government officials. Maga denounced the Arroyo government's inaction on demands that Beltran be released on the grounds that all the charges filed against the latter were fraudulent.

Allies and supporters in Australia have also began holding protests against Pres. Arroyo as she embarks on a state visit to the country. Protestors condemn the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines and also assert the release of the detained lawmaker. #


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