MANILA — Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should dismiss the false charges and accusations against Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo as well as the other progressive lawmakers Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Liza Maza and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino unless she wants to cement her burgeoning reputation in the international community as a clone of dictators and fascist presidents throughout history.
“The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should be ordered to immediately stop their manhunt for Rep. Ocampo,” he said.
“Malacanang cannot keep back the tide of international outrage. Civil libertarians and human rights advocates all over the world are appalled and aghast at the constantly worsening human rights situation in the Philippines. My continuing incarceration, the persecution against Rep. Ocampo and other progressive lawmakers expose the extent of the Arroyo administration’s worsening tendencies for dictatorship and fascism. There are 838 victims of political and extra-judicial killings and their families have yet to gain closure or justice on the brutal murder of their loved ones. Pres. Arroyo’s refusal to reign back the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and firmly order AFP troops and their mercenary partners to stop the attacks against the members of progressive party-lists proves her statements of concern over the killings as hypocritical,” he said.
Beltran said that more than the last year he has spent incarcerated on false charges and bogus, made-up testimonies is more than enough proof to show that the Arroyo government will not respect its own laws and due process when it comes to prosecuting its political critics and opponents.
“I fear that if Rep. Ocampo surfaces and turns himself in to the PNP or the CIDG, his case, like mine, will be deliberately put on the back burner and before we know it, a year has passed. I have strong reasons to doubt the credibility of the Philippine justice system. It cannot deal justice because the higher powers leading up to the Department of Justice and Malacanang itself have an agenda to crush the progressive party-lists and criminalize their leaders using false charges, evidence, and testimonies,” he said. The rebellion case against Beltran will have its next hearing on March 26 at 130 pm at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
The activist lawmaker has also sent a letter of thanks to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for its continuing expressions of support for the campaign for his release. The IPU has also communicated its intent to conduct a fact-finding mission in the Philippines to visit Beltran and monitor the case against Ocampo from May 7-8.
“The persecution and harassment against progressive lawmakers has caught and kept the attention of the IPU all these months and I am grateful that the institution will send a delegation in May. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration will be risking greater international notoriety if it even begins to think of stopping the IPU’s international fact-finding mission in the Philippines,” he concluded.#