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Philippines: Arroyo’s coup directed against the left

28. February 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 network 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:

Crispin Beltran
Please furnish the KMU ( with any actions you may take.
Thank you very much for your support to the Filipino workers and people!

In solidarity,
Kilusang Mayo Uno


Urgent Action Date: 25 February 2006

Urgent Action Title: Parliament Member Crispin Beltran arrested by
Police in Bulacan, Philippines

Urgent Action Case: Illegal Arrest and Detention

Victim/s: Hon. Crispin B. Beltran
. 73 years old, married with 11 children
. Male
. Partylist Representative of Anakpawis (“Toiling Masses”)
. Former Chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement)
. Former Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle
. a resident of Francisco III, Muzon, Bulacan, Philippines

Place of Incident: at the gate of Francisco III, Muzon, Bulacan, Philippines

Date of Incident: 25 February 2006 between 8:00 – 8:30 AM

Suspected Perpetrators: Senior Inspector Rene Corpuz of the Philippine National Police (CIDG)

Account of Incident:

Between 8:00 – 8:30 AM today, February 25, 2006 Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Partylist Representative Crispin Beltran, 73 years old was about to leave his home in Francisco III, Muzon, Bulacan, North of Metro Manila in the Philippines, when two vans of a combined team of army and police blocked his vehicle at the gate of the said village and arrested him together with his aide.

Led by Senior Inspector Rene Corpuz, the policemen said they were inviting the Crispin Beltran for questioning at the Camp Crame to find out if he was involved in a destabilization plot against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government.

Prior to this incident President Macapagal-Arroyo put the Philippines in a state of emergency yesterday after an alleged coup by military officers opposed to her administration. On the same day, her government revoked all permits for mass mobilizations and violently dispersed rallies commemorating the 20th anniversary of People Power 1 that led to the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.


Dear Sir/Madam;

We strongly protest the unjustified arrest and detention of Parliament member Crispin Beltran. This action is patently a violation of the right to legitimate dissent and his immunity to arrest as a member of Congress while this is in session.. We urge you to immediately release him and to desist from further carrying out measures that restrict the democratic rights of the people.

We are aware that the constitutionality and legality of Proclamation 1017 are being challenged by members of the Philippine Senate, who have cited non-compliance with the limits and restraints on the use of extraordinary powers.

We remind you that the Philippine Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments. Thus it is bound to observe all provisions of the said instruments.

Respectfully yours,

NOTE: Draft letter prepared by the ILPS General Secretariat)
. Please also furnish the ILPS news of any actions you may take thru