Friday, June 01, 2007

Beltran lauds SC decision dismissing rebellion charges against Batasan 6; looks forward to freedom

Friday, June 1, 2007

Beltran lauds SC decision dismissing rebellion charges against Batasan 6; looks forward to freedom

Detained lawmaker Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran lauded the decision of the High Court dismissing the rebellion charges against the progressive lawmakers or the Batasan 6 composed of lawmakers of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women's Party.

The details of the Supreme Court decision has yet to be released, but Beltran said that the dismissal of the rebellion charges were already 'very, very good news.' The decision is most appreciated by Beltran as it stands to have him released from detention. He has been incarcerated for the last 15 months on the charges that he plotted with renegade elements of the military to remove Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo from power.

"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. #


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