Wednesday, October 18, 2006

115th Assembly of the Interparliamentary Union approves resolution calling for Rep.Beltran’s immediate release

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran extended his full gratitude to the international delegates and leadership of the 115th Assembly of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) for unanimously approving the resolution calling for his immediate release. The IPU congress is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, and among the delegates are Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino. Ocampo and Casino facilitated moves to circulate the resolution calling on the Macacpagal-Arroyo government to immediately release Beltran and the resolution garnered the support of the IPU delegates.

The IPU said it “Remains deeply concerned at the continuing detention of Mr. Beltran, which it fears is arbitrary; and calls once again on the authorities to release him forthwith or at the very least to transfer him to the custody of the House of Representatives.”

It also said it was “puzzled at the notion of a continuing crime, which entails serious consequences such as arrest without warrant.” The continuing crime doctrine is being invoked by the Philippine National Police and Department of Justice to justify the seven-month detention of Rep. Beltran.

“It feels most assuring and heartwarming to know that I have the support not only of my colleagues in the legislative houses here in the Philippines, but also the support of colleagues and fellow progressive lawmakers in other countries. Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should realize that the campaign of political repression she launched against progressive lawmakers such as myself and other leaders of the opposition do not go unnoticed. The more she stubbornly insists on keeping me under illegal detention and under fabricated charges, the greater the pressure will be on her to resign: the international community has given its attention to what is happening in the Philippines, and they more than understand the demand for her to step down,” he said.

Beltran also thanked Reps. Ocampo and Casino for bringing the issue of his incarceration to the IPU.

The veteran labor leader turned activist legislator also said that for the meantime, he is seeking the full support of his colleagues in Congress and call on Speaker Jose de Venecia to allow his transfer from the Philippine Heart Center to the House of Representatives. He said that it was not so much his own physical limitations caused by age that is making his health deteriorate, ‘It’s actually being cooped up in the hospital under 24-7 monitoring of the CIDG and the Department of Justice. The tedium of being detained is what’s making my health condition worse, that and hearing about the continued attacks of the Macapagal-Arroyo government on the political, civil and human rights of the Filipino people,” he said.

Beltran said that he wants to be in Congress before session resumes in November. He said that it’s clear that the govenrment does not having concrete to substantiate its charges of rebellion against him, and that it’s only keeping him detained out of pique and refusal to admit that it was illegal to arrest him in the first place.

“The government has no case against me. I should be released at the soonest possible time; and I expect this government to stop fabricating more accusations and allegations against me and allow me to do my job as a legislator of the poor and marginalized sectors,” he concluded.#