Thursday, March 02, 2006

Protest the illegal arrest and detention of KMU Chairman Emeritus and Anakpawis Party-list Representative Crispin Beltran!

On Saturday (25 Feb 2006), KMU Chairman Emeritus and Anakpawis Party-list Representative Crispin Beltran was abducted and arrested in a subdivision in Bulacan, north of Manila, where he resides. Elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) under the Philippine National Police (PNP) led by a certain Major Rene Corpuz blocked Beltran's vehicle as it was about to go out of the subdivision for a press conference of the House Minority in Sulu Hotel in Quezon City.  Beltran was with his wife Rosario and four other companions when they were accosted by the military and 'escorted' to Camp Crame.
Beltran, more popularly known as Ka Bel, 73 years old, is a veteran labor leader, having been the KMU Chairman from 1986-2001 and served as its Secretary General for a few years previous to that.  He is also the founding chairman of the prestigious International League of People's Struggles (ILPS), a worldwide anti-imperialist formation.
His illegal arrest and detention came a day after Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a national state of emergency amid rumours of a coup d'etat and simultaneous commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People's Power Uprising that led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship.
The Arroyo government has been beleaguered by allegations of corruption, rampant human rights violations and massive cheating of the 2004 elections, among others.
Beltran becomes the first victim of Proclamation Order 1017 or the State of Emergency.  Few hours after his arrest, police tried to arrest another progressive parliament member, Bayan Muna Party List Representative Satur Ocampo.  Rep. Ocampo, however escaped arrest as he was not riding the van swooped down by the military.  A day after, Retired General Ramon Montano and Rex Piad were also invited for "questioning".  Two media offices were closed, The Daily Tribune and Abante. To date, military personnel continue to patrol the vicinity of Channel 2, one of the biggest TV networks in the country.
Ka Bel has been arrested without warrant on the basis of a 1986 trumped-up charge of inciting to rebellion, a charge that has been nullified under the Cory Aquino administration.  Ka Bel has now been charged with another case of inciting to rebellion purportedly on the basis of his calls to oust Pres. Arroyo and establish a transition council after her ouster.
Ka Bel is continuously being detained in a bartolina-like detention cell.  Aside from his safety, we also express concern over his health conditions.  He has a history of high blood pressure and was confined in a hospital last year after suffering from a mild stroke.
Several sections of the society has expressed alarm, concern and protest over PD 1017, which has a very chilling effect as with the PD 1081 Martial Law declaration of Marcos in the 1970s.  Less than 24 hours after PD 1017 was declared, grave violations of civil liberties, press freedom and international human rights conventions were committed.
We urge you to add your voice to the growing clamor for the release of Ka Bel, the revocation of PD 1017, a stop on the crackdown on legitimate dissent and all forms of political persecution and repression. Please support the Filipino people in its undying quest for genuine freedom, democracy and justice in the country.
The following actions are recommended:
1)  Send protest letters to the Philippine president and other concerned government agencies
2)  Send solidarity message to Rep. Crispin Beltran
3)  Hold protest actions in front of the Philippine Consulates
4)  Hold dialogues with Philippine Ambassadors
5)  Any pertinent actions you may deem necessary
Send protest letters to:
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: /
Hon. Avelino J. Cruz, Jr.
Secretary of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
You can send solidarity messages to:
Please furnish the KMU ( and Migrante International ( with any actions you may take.
Thank you very much for your support to the Filipino workers and people!
In solidarity,
Kilusang Mayo Uno

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