Beltran’s arrest illegal—Atty. Capulong

International human rights lawyer Romeo Capulong said Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran’s arrest is “illegal” and “an act of harassment and persecution.”

Capulong said Beltran is being held by the military for a charge of sedition against the labor leader-solon during the Marcos regime. Television reports say the case was filed in 1985, even before the dictator was ousted by People Power!

Manwhile, former Police chief Ramon Montaño and retired Police General Rex Piad were also arrested. Reports say Tribune editor Niñez Cacho-Olivarez will also de picked up.

Below is the media release from the office of Rep. Beltran:

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran is currently being held by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the charge of inciting to rebellion, Atty. Romeo Capulong disclosed just now.

Rep. Beltran was previously ‘invited for questioning’ and escorted to Camp Crame earlier this morning. But during Rep. Beltran’s questioning by the CIDG, officials presented to the progressive party list solon an arrest order for Criminal Case Number Q-21905, People of the Philippines vs. Crispin Beltran, on charges of inciting to rebellion.

‘We strongly protest this arrest as an act of harassment and persecution. This arrest is illegal,’ Atty. Capulong noted. The international human rights lawyer is currently with Rep. Beltran at the CIDG.

The arrest warrant is basing its charges on a previous charge of sedition filed against Beltran during the Marcos regime. However, Atty. Capulong said that the prior case of sedition filed against Beltran has been already quashed shortly after EDSA 1.

Rep. Beltran was summoned to Camp Crame without a warrant presented prior to his arrest and is currently undergoing questioning by the CIDG under the Office of the Anti-Organized Crime and Businessmen Concerns Division, barely a day after Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency yesterday via Proclamation 1017.

Beltran, along with his wife Rosario and four other companions, were accosted by a certain Maj. Rene Corpuz and another unidentified person, both reportedly from the CIDG, at the gate of Francisco III Subdivision in Muzon, Bulacan around 10 am today.

Both inviting officers did not present a warrant and were both in uniform and armed.

Rep. Beltran and his group were escorted by two armed personnel in Rep. Beltran’s van, followed by a black van bearing the plate number GRP-134, to Camp Crame.

Rosario Beltran, who is currently at the CIDG, says that the CIDG under Maj. Corpuz presented a warrant of arrest only while Beltran was undergoing questioning at past 11 am today. The warrant reportedly provides for Beltran’s release only on condition that he provides proof of clearance in a sedition case filed against him under the Marcos administration.

Atty. Romeo Capulong has already arrived at the CIDG in order to provide legal assistance to Beltran.

Anakpawis Vice-President Carmen Deunida soundly denounced Rep. Beltran’s illegal arrest and detention, saying that the spate of warrantless arrests of progressive party list leaders this morning, along with reports of the government raid on the Daily Tribune, were all part of a ‘systematic crackdown aiming to suppress all avenues and personalities actively calling for Pres. Arroyo’s just ouster’.

‘This is all part of a mad, desperate and vain attempt of a corrupt and illegitimate head of state to prevent the surging tide of people’s righteous anger and protests and a pro-people military rebellion to cling a little longer to the presidency in her insatiable lust for power,’ Deunida said.

‘This crackdown on progressives is bound to fail and will only hasten her downfall. It will not save her skin at all. She will fall more ignominiously than Marcos sooner than later, everyone should defy and fight her and her shameless and unthinking cohorts who are mindful only of their privileges in her coattails,’ Deunida said.

‘Manghuli siya kung gusto niya, mas matinding lagapak ng bagsak ang aabutin niya kapag tuluyang napoot ang taongbayan sa kanyang pasistang pamamahala,’ Deunida said.

‘The emergency declaration has sealed the early downfall of the gma regime it speaks in thousands of words how vile, repressive, corrupt, and power greedy this regime has become,’ Deunida added.

Deunida called for the immediate release of Rep. Beltran and a halt to the illegal mass arrests of civilians critical of the Arroyo administration.

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