Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The Free Ka Bel Movement, Anakpawis Party-list and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) held a 'birthday picket' last January 7, 2007 in honor of Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran in front of the Philippine Heart Center where Beltran remains under incarceration after almost 11 months on the charges of rebellion and sedition. Beltran celebrates his 74 th birthday today, and 50 of these 74 years he spent being a respected labor leader and beginning 2001, a progressive people's law maker.

FKBM, Anakpawis and KMU members and leaders and other supporters held their 'birthday picket' in front of the PHC because they were not allowed inside the building. They came bearing balloons, birthday cards, and a cake decorated with a sign for a P125 across-the board nationwide wage increase. Beltran is one of the main authors of the legislated wage hike bill in the House of Representatives passed last December prior to the Christmas break. A similar bill is being deliberated upon in the Senate under the Sen. Jinggoy Estrada's Committee on Labor.

"We are most grateful to Ka Bel for all that he has done to serve and protect the interest of workers and the rest of the working people," they said. He is a true servant of the poor and exploited. He should be released immediately."

FKBM spokesperson Dennis Maga said that it was an outrage that a convicted rapist such as US Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith has been essentially freed from jail while Rep. Beltran, a renowned labor leader, internationalist, and patriotic congressman, remains incarcerated.

"Where is the justice in this? Ka Bel has been incarcerated for almost 11 months, and it's appalling that he has had celebrated the holidays in detention and under the close watch of government security men. He is now 74 and the greater part of his past year he spent under arrest. He should be released immediately. We won't have him spend another year of his life under detention. The charges against him are all false and fabricated," he said.

At the age of 74, Ka Bel has gone through a lot of challenges in his entire life as a labor leader, a former political detainee under the Marcos dictatorship, and as a people's lawmaker in an institution dominated by business and elitist political interests. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration continues to incarcerate Ka Bel despite of the firm knowledge that he is innocent of the charges against him and that he is being used by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration as a mascot-deterrent against those who dare to oppose the government are taking a toll on him," he said.

Initially, the PNP requested for a court order that Ka Bel be transferred to the Makati City Jail. In a letter dated October 23, 2006, PSupt. Dexter G. Rellora, chief of the PNP Custodial Center requested the issuance of a Commitment Order from RTC Branch 150 for Ka Bel's transfer to the Makati City Jail.

Rep. Beltran has been recommended to undergo the following tests on a regular basis as part of his health monitoring: complete blood count, blood chemistry (including lipid profile), urinalysis, electrocardiography , chest x-ray, 2D Echodoppler, carotid duplex scan, and possible stress thallium; and treatment for hypertensive cardiovascular disease. "Given the overall health condition of Congressman Beltran which is the primary concern of the court, it is imperative that his attending physicians be required to submit their report," according to the Makati RTC 150.

Dr. Reginald Pamugas, MD, Health Action for Human Rights, one of the doctors attending to Ka Bel said that to transfer Ka Bel to Camp Crame would be to sign his death certificate. "If the Courts are really concerned about Ka Bel's health, then should release him at once. It's the stress of being illegally incarcerated that's taking a toll on his health and causing it to deteoriorate, " Dr. Pamugas said.

Dr. Pamugas said that Ka Bel's vital blood pressure fluctuates with highest at 160/90 and lowest at 110/70. His respiratory and heart rate are within normal range. For the past months there was no record of infection and fever.

Latest laboratory examinations on Complete Blood Count (CBC) which show a slightly decrease or low red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelet count. Other laboratory examinations like Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Total Cholesterol Level, and Uric Acid were within normal range.

"Cong. Beltran's relatively stable health condition doesn't come so easy, there is the financial burden, maintenance medications and mental stress that sometimes shaking him up. He is taking about 10 assorted medicines in order to keep his health condition in good shape. And lately, he is doing some exercises like skipping rope and push ups. But despite of the incarceration and his relatively stable health conditions, the strong support of mass movement here and abroad makes him stronger to fight the brutal force of Macapagal-Arroyo administration," Maga concluded.#