Tuesday, February 27, 2007

International Supports Condemned The 1 Year Incarceration of Ka Bel

Duesseldorf 23rd February 2007

Report of the German Filipino Friends (GFF) on its Protest rally on 23rd February 2007

Freedom for Crispin Beltran and the militant opposition in the Philippines

With this challenge the GFF together with representatives of the Turkish organisation ATIK and others a first respectable protest action was started in front of the Philippine Consulate in Bonn. Folks passing by reacted mostly very positive and supportive in the nearby freewalking zone after initially being totally unaware of these 800 victims from the opposition in the Philippines and the rather arbitrary imprisonment of Crispin Beltran over a whole year. Many said: "Of course our government cooperates with the Philippine government and does not publicize anything about the repression there." We were even short of information material for distribution. Some 76 persons signed our protest note: We protest over the politically motivated killings and challenge the German Federal government to break of all relations with the Philippine government for the time being.

Delegates from GFF, ATIK, from the trade union of the public sector VER.DI and the MLPD addressed the audience before personly handing over to tho Philipine Consul Mr Auxilian a protest note signed by thirteen organisations. He had sent one of his aids to us protesting in front of his window, inviting us into the embassy for the handover. We appreciate this invitation, as the Philippine Embassy in Berlin had not been prepared to receive delegates fromVER.DI delivering a protest resolution despite having been asked to do so by fax, mail and telephone.

Mr Auxilian stressed that his government has installed some commission to investigate these cases.

GFF received a similiar information on 22nd February from the Philippine Embassy in Berlin in answer to our protest letter in November 2006. Mr Auxilian also emphasized that open critic blackens the worldwide image of the Philippine Government. On account of this it would be necessary to deal with this critic and investigate and clarify these cases.

Before leaving the embassy we expressed our wish, that on account of his serious statement, we would hopefully soon hear in the news about Crispin Beltran' release. At the moment the Philippine Government is under pressure as at this weekend the UN embassador in Manila has requested the government to give an answer about these political killings. There will also be protest rallies ofthe trade unions all over the country calling for the release of Crispin Beltran on 26th February. There will beeven such protest actions worldwide an the anniversary of his detention.

Our rally today has been a good beginning. By offering coffeee, Tea and Boerek it was even possible to finance the expenses of our action. Our turkish friends of the New Democratic Youth gave with their live music our action special flair. And the personal letter from Crispin Beltran from prison hospital, sent to us for this special occasion emphasized that:International solidarity worldwide is taking heed!

Philippines Australia Union Link - PAUL

Media Release
Monday February 26, 2007

Downer asked to speak out on jailed Filipino parliamentarian Crispin Beltran, workers representative, now detained for one year, Australian trade unionists today called on Philippines consulates and the Embassy in Canberra to demand the immediate release of Crispin Beltran, an elected workers representative to the Philippines House of Representatives. He has been in jail or detained in the Philippines Heart Center for one year today.

"We are taking our protest at 4pm today to the Philippines Consulate in Sydney, to convey our strongest protest at the continued detention of Crispin Beltran on completely trumped charges of rebellion," said Peter Murphy, spokesperson for the Philippines Australia Union Link.
"Crispin Beltran is detained purely to repress and punish the widespread movement in the Philippines against the regime of President Arroyo, which stands charged with a brutal campaign of military death squads against unarmed civilian critics, and for stealing the 2004 presidential elections.

"Crispin Beltran was voted the most popular member of Congress three years in a row, and is a leader of the popular movement calling on Mrs Arroyo to resign, but that is not a crime in any democratic society," said Mr Murphy.

"The Philippines National Police have put forward bogus evidence twice against Mr Beltran to justify their arrest of him without warrant on February 25 last year during a State of National Emergency, and failed in court. So they have fallen back on the charge of 'rebellion', which is a non-bailable 'continuing offence' under Philippines law. This really amounts to a 'thought crime' - that Mr Beltran thinks the government is illegitimate and that the people should call for the President to resign," explained Mr Murphy.

"The International Parliamentary Union, including its Australian Labor and Liberal delegates, has unanimously called twice for the release of Mr Beltran, but so far the Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, has remained silent," said Mr Murphy. "Now that the UN Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings has exposed the massive repression by death squads under Mrs Arroyo's watch, our government must speak out or forever be seen as complicit in another murderous repression in our region, this time in the name of the war on terror," said Mr Murphy. "It should call today for the release of Mr Beltran and an end to the death squads".

Crispin Beltran began his union career in the 1950s in the Yellow Taxi Employees Union, became the leader of the Alliance of National Genuine Labor Organisations (ANGLO) in the 1970s, and the first Secretary General of the May One Labor Movement (KMU) in 1980. Along with over 100 other KMU leaders he was arrested and jailed under the Marcos dictatorship in 1982, but managed to escape in 1984 during a release for a family wedding. He went underground in Central Luzon until the overthrow of the dictator in February 1986, and then became the Chairperson of KMU until his election to the Congress in May 2001. He remains Emeritus Chairperson of the union center. He is now aged 74 and suffers high blood pressure and diabetes and had a mild stroke in 2002 from which he recovered.

For further comment: Peter Murphy 0418 312 301
Philippines Australia Union Link: Australian Council of Trade Unions; Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; National Tertiary Education Union; Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union, Liquor Hospitality & Miscellaneous Union ACT; Independent Education Union NSW; CEPU Telecommunications VIC

Dear Ka. Bel,

Warmest greetings from Japan.One year has passed since you were illegally and unjustly arrested and detained by the Arroyo government.

We Allied Labor Unions of Independence (ALUI), together with Japanese militant workers and people, made protest actions and demanded the Philippine government to immediately release Ka. Bel.

Lots of workers and militant unions signed the petition that was handed to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.Now the reality of political killings and role of military and police has become so well known. Mass media here report the issue and even the Japanese government was forced to convey their concern about the human rights abuse for the first time to the Philippine government.

Today we renew our solidarity with Ka. Bel and our determination to get back Ka. Bel to people. We vehemently condemn political killings by the Arroyo government and expand campaign to stop the state terror.Your messages from the hospital detention are always updating and encouraging us. We are determined to advance our labor movement here hand in hand with Filipino workersand toiling masses.

Ka. Bel, please take good care of yourself.

In solidarity,

Keishi Tanaka
Allied Labor Unions of Independence (ALUI)- Japan

Ka Bel - Mabuhay!

Greetings from our family and friends in Whangarei, where youvisited in September 1999. Our thoughts continue to be with you,Kasama! We endorse your courageous stand and ongoing integrity under arrrest, and take inspiration from you.

I personally remember you in the front line of the Rally after theInternational Peoples Tribunal in August 05, in Quezon City, andyour marching strongly then, even though you had not been well earlier. Other friends who have visited you since - like Jane Kelseyand Jo Dereymaeker - confirm your spirit continues to be strong sine then.Power to you, brother.

We have apparently the dubious privilege of Gloria Arroyo visiting Northland, Aotearoa-NZ, in May this year, at the time of theInterfaith Forum, if she dares to leave the Philippines by then! Isincerely hope you will be long freed by then. In our own way wewill be holding her to account for your unjust imprisonment and her violations of the rights of the peoples of the Philippines - andcalling on our Government to be more forthright about her following'constitutional process,' as she told our Prime Minister earlier.

Kia kaha, kia maia - Be strong, be steadfast!

Tuloy ang laban!

Mabuhay, Ka Bel!

Tim Howard and Carol Peters

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rep. Beltran's wife asks United Nations through Special Rapporteur Philip Alston to give attention to husband's case

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran's wife and partner for the last 50 years Mrs. Rosario Soto-Beltran today attended the hearing of the House Committee on Human Rights regarding the relentless series of extrajudicial killings. United Nations Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston was in attendance, and Mrs. Beltran sought to speak to the said UN official regarding the continuing detention of her husband.

Rep. Beltran has been incarcerated on charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion since February 25, 2006 when the Macapagal-Arroyo administration declared a state of emergency. Rep. Beltran has been accused of colluding with elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to remove Macapagal-Arroyo from office.

"We continue to do everything we can to press for Ka Bel's release, and I am prepared to speak to anyone who will listen and help. It's been a year since Ka Bel has been arrested, and it's most unjust because the testimonies of supposed witnesses against him are all false. The witnesses are lying, the timeline connecting Ka Bel to the military uprising is incorrect, and Ka Bel would never resort to colluding with the military," she said.

The Beltran family has already given Alston a briefing paper on Ka Bel's arrest as well as a personal letter from Ka Bel asking the United Nations through Alston to give attention to his case. Beltran is a victim of unjust and arbitrary detention, and his continuing detention on made-up charges is a inconvertible truth that there is worsening political repression in the Philippines.
"Sana bigyang pansin ni Mr. Alston ang kaso ng asawa ko. Alam ko na wala siyang magagawa para direktang palayain si Ka Bel, pero sana mapaabot niya sa UN ang nangyayaring pampulitikang panggigpit dito sa Pilipinas. Isang taon nang nakakulong si Ka Bel, at hindi umuusad ang mga hearing sa kanyang kaso. Lumalala na rin ang kalusugan niya," Mrs. Beltran said.

Mrs. Beltran also slammed the House of Representatives, specifically Speaker Jose de Venecia and Majority Leader Prospero Nograles.

"Walang ginawa ang mga opisyales ng Kongreso para protektahan si Ka Bel. Si de Venecia ni minsan ay hindi nagsalita para igiit ang mga karapatan ni Ka Bel bilang isang konggresista. Si Nograles naman, lalo pang idinidiin si Ka Bel at sinasabing mas mabigat ang kaso ni Ka Bel kaya dun sa kongresista ng Laguna nanahulihan ng bala at baril sa kanyang bag. Alam nilang inosente si Ka Bel sa mga akusasyon laban sa kanya; at bilang congressman may mga karapatan sa immunity si Ka Bel pero sina de Venecia at Nograles walang ginawa at talagang nilaglag si Ka Bel," she said.

Mrs. Beltran was referring to Rep. Danton Bueser.
Mrs. Beltran said that de Venecia should have stood up to defend Ka Bel and insist on his parliamentary immunity, "But what he did was let the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police to continue their persecution and prosecution of Ka Bel. We will not forget de Venecia's deafening silence on this issue of Ka Bel's illegal arrest and continuing incarceration. Utos talaga ng Malacanang kina de Venecia nah wag tulungan si Ka Bel at hayaan siyang makulong kahit wala siyang kasalanan," she said.

Rep. Beltran's wife furthermore accused Speaker de Venecia of remaining deaf to the constant and consistent calls from other lawmakers that the House leadership take Ka Bel under protective custody and give him sanctuary.

"Through his silence and inaction, he allowed the DOJ and the PNP to arrest, detain and charge Ka Bel despite the fact that congress was in session at the time of the arrest, and that the testimonies are false and fabricated," she concluded.#

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wage, Civil Liberties and Freedom

Early this year, workers awaited the passage of bill seeking P125 legislated across the board wage hike in Senate. But now, the prospects for economic relief for workers are not getting well after the treacherous motion for reversal led by the House majority through Rep. Crispin 'Boying' Remulla.

We of the FREE KA BEL MOVEMENT (FKBM) are outraged that the wage hike bill authored by Anakpawis Rep. Cripin Beltran detained has been frozen again. We are also concerned that the Senate is now reportedly on the third reading of a dangerous bill that has grave implications on human rights.

Civil liberties, specifically workers' rights to form unions, wage, strikes and join militant rallies, will be further curtailed in the face of impending passage of the anti-terror bill principally authoredby Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Given the escalating rate of political killings and persecution under the Arroyo watch, we are particularly concerned that illegal arrests and detention such as the case of KaBel will be even more brazen and widespread.

For almost a year now since the wave of illegal arrests under Arroyo's Proclamation 1017, Ka Bel has been detained on trumped up charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion. We certainly do not need a terrorbill that will further prolong his detention and victimize other political activists who may fall under the definition of being'terrorists' mainly because of their prominence in militant rallies advocating the impeachment and/or ouster of the fraudulent president.

FKBM demands the immediate and unconditional freedom of Ka Bel. TheArroyo government repeatedly betrays workers' interests as it blocks the passage of the wage hike bill and prolongs the unjust detention of Ka Bel. We ask the Senate to vote down the terror bill that aims to terrorize the people and suppress political dissent. We also challenge candidates vying for seats in Congress and Senate to push for a legislated wage increase both in Congress and Senate to prove that they are worthy of the workers' support. #

Dennis Maga
Spokesperson of Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM) and
Secretary-General of Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine LaborOrganizations (ANGLO) -KMU