Press Release
May 7, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today advised the Philippine National Police not to defy the law by insisting on arresting five progressive party-list congressmen if they leave the premises of the House of Representatives in Quezon City despite the ruling of a lower court junking the rebellion case against them.

Pimentel warned police officers that they may be cited for contempt and charged with illegal arrest if they would apprehend Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Joel Virador of Bayan Muna, Rafael Mariano of Anak Pawis and Liza Maza of Gabriela in view of the ruling of Judge Jenny Lind Delorino of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 137 denying the inclusion of the respondents in the original rebellion case filed by the Department of Justice against Anak Pawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and rebel military officer 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan.

The minority leader also reminded the PNP that the arrest of the Batasan 5 was deemed illegal after the Supreme Court, in its decision on Proclamation 1017, held that the warrantless arrests carried out by law enforcers by virtue of the proclamation of a state of national emergency last February was illegal.

Law enforcers are well advised that were operating under the rule of law. If they arrest the Batasan 5 despite Judge Delorinos order dismissing the rebellion case against them, they should be cited for contempt and charged with illegal arrest, Pimentel said.

Pimentel noted that the Batasan 5 were arrested shortly after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation 1017 on Feb. 24 without the benefit of an arrest warrants issued by any court.

But the Supreme Court last week, ruled that warrantless arrests of political critics of the administration were unconstitutional.

The arrest of the five party-list congressmen was based on the resolution of the Department of Justice approving the filing of rebellion charges against them.

They have been taking refuge at the House since Feb. 27 after military and police probers linked them to the alleged left-right plot to overthrow the Arroyo government.

Pimentel said he agrees with the statement of House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles that the Batasan 5, following the issuance of Delorinos resolution, should now be freed without threat of being arrested.

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