City Council Demands Due Process for Batasan 5, Beltran

Mar. 29, 2006

By Cheryll D. Fiel

DAVAO CITY The City Council approved on Tuesday a resolution supporting the plea by Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla to Malacaang requesting due process for the so-called Batasan 5.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, the proponent of the resolution, said it was just right for Capalla to do what he did. We would always ask for due process to take its own course, regardless of who the subjects are, Dayanghirang said.

Dayanghirang said Capallas letter should be a wake-up call for Malacaang. He pointed out that Capalla, who may not agree with the politics of the five members of the House of Represenatives who are effectively under arrest inside the Congress compound, had been forced to act on the lawmakers behalf. He stressed the importance of upholding constitutionally protected civil liberties at all times.

If it happened to lawmakers like them, how much more for ordinary people? Dayanghirang said.

The right to due process must be respected and observed in their regard in their capacity both as citizens and as members of Congress, the resolution said. (View an image copy of resolution here.)

Capalla, in an earlier dialogue with leaders of progressive organizations, had called the situation alarming when leaders of the groups told him of their situation and the situation of their leaders in Manila, especially Anakpawis partylist representative Crispin Beltran.

Capalla had also appealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a fair trial and a humanitarian consideration for Beltran, who is ill.

The letter, copies of which had been furnished the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, asked government to follow due process and to ensure that progressive leaders are not subjected to no surveillance and abduction. (Cheryll D. Fiel,

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