Friday, June 1, 2007
Implement SC decision finding no probable cause in rebellion charges against progressive solons - Beltran
Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that the High Court's decision to dismiss the rebellion charges against the prpgressive lawmakers of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Womens Party should be imemdiately implemented. Beltran said that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez should imediately expedite the decision and order his (Beltran's) release from the custody of the CIDG and the Philippine National Police.
"The Supreme Court has issued a most humane and just decision, and it is my hope that it will be immediately implemented. We hope that none of the concerned parties that filed the charges against us will not foot drag on this matter and take positive response by releasing me from police custody," said Beltran.
"The SC decision is an affirmation of our consistent and just assertions of innocence.Fifteen months is a long time to be detained on false charges and fabricated testimonies. Even one day is too long," he said. "While I thank the Supreme Court justices for this most laudable decision, inevitably I owe my release to the thousands of Filipinos and friends of the Filipino people who have supported me and the campaign for my freedom. It is their continued expressions of unflagging support that have sustained me and my family through this injustice. I am forever in their debt, and I vow to continue the work I was forced to leave behind when I was illegally arrested and detained."
Beltran said that he will not take any time for rest when he is released. "I spent 14 months cooped up in one room; the first two months in Camp Crame, and the rest at the Philippine Heart Center. I have had all the rest I could ever use or need. The weakening of my health and body has been directly related to the stress of being illegally arrested and unjustly detained. I expect to recover my full health as soon as I am outside these walls and free to once more participate in the parliament of the streets and in legislative arena," he said.
The veteran labor leader and activist lawmaker said that as Anakpawis' first nominee in the party-list elections, he will continue to press for the passage of a P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers, a P3,000 across-the-board salary hike for government employees; and press for the an end to the worsening civil, political and human rights situation.
The 74-year old Beltran said that there was still so much to be done. "My second stint as a political detainee has further driven home the realization that there is so much more work to be done by way of bringing genuine peace, justice and progress in the Philippines. I would like to think that somehow my incarceration has further exposed the necessity to assert for human and political rights against the face of intensifying political repression of the government. I am grateful to every single individual who supported my release; but I would still dare to be bold enough to ask for their continuing support when it comes to safeguarding the May 14 elections against fraud and violence," he said.
"I am hoping that with the dismissal of the rebellion charges filed against us February 25 last year, the attacks against the progressive lawmakers will also come to an end. I am looking forward to my release for detention. It's to be hoped that the Supreme Court's decision will not meet any more opposition from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other forces who continue to discredit, criminalize and demonize us," he said.
Beltran said that the Supreme Court's decision should be allowed to take effect at the soonest possible time.
As of this writing, Anakpawis, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and allied groups are preparing for a celebratory picket in front of the Philippine Heart Center where Beltran has been detained since April 2006. He was originally detained at the Philippine National Police General Hospital (PNP GH) inside Camp Crame.
The 74 year old veteran labor leader remains as the chairperson and first nominee of Anakpawis Party-List and is set to return for another term in Congress when Anakpawis' victory at the party-list polls is announced. Ref. Rafael Mariano is Anakpawis' second nominiee and stands as party president.
In the meantime, the New Zealand Government has been given an assurance by its Philippines counterpart that Free Ka Bel Movement spokesperson Dennis Maga will not be arrested on his return home.
A spokesperson for New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark told New Zealand media Scoop today that "The Prime Minister is aware of Mr Maga's claims that he believes he is likely to be arrested on his return to the Philippines.
New Zealand's Ambassador to the Philippines sought clarification from senior Philippines' officials and was told there are no charges pending against Mr Maga and no warrant has been issued for his arrest," the Prime Minister's spokesperson said.
Scoop understands a request was issued Friday from the Council of Trade Unions to the Prime Minister Helen Clark's office asking that diplomatic channels be used to seek assertions or clarification from its Philippines counterpart - that Dennis Maga does not face arrest.
Maga, however, has applied to remain in New Zealand for another month while he and his supporters seek assurances he will not face arrest nor death on his return home. Mr Maga had planned to return to the Philippines on June 2.
For the next month, Mr Maga will be a guest of both the National Distribution Union and Unite Union where he will continue to visit work sites, union meetings, and gatherings to educate New Zealanders about human rights abuses in the Philippines. #