Press Release
May 14, 2006


The International Parliamentary Union (IPU) today called on the Philippine government to free Anak Pawis party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran who is facing rebellion charges for his alleged involvement in a plot by communist insurgents and mutinous soldiers to overthrow the Arroyo government.

The resolution to release Beltran by granting him bail was adopted by the IPU during its conference in Nairobi, Kenya based on the recommendation of the human rights committee and the motion of the Filipino parliamentarians.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said the IPU welcomed the lifting of the arrest order on the Batasan 5 party list Reps. Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino, Jose Virador, Rafael Mariano and Liza Maza after their inclusion in the rebellion case was rejected by Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Jenny Lind Delorino.

However, Pimentel said he and other Filipino legislators expressed concern over the threat of rearrest of Batasan 5, especially after the Department of Justice filed new rebellion charges against them and 41 other respondents.

The minority leader said the six progressive party-list representatives have been targeted by the administration for persecution for their unwavering stand for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for abusing her powers.

Pimentel also deplored Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez penchant for questioning the integrity of judges who have rendered decisions or rulings unfavorable to the government, especially in criminal cases against political enemies of the administration.

After Judge Delorino dismissed the rebellion charges against the Batasan 5 and 41 other respondents, Secretary Gonzalez berated her by branding her anti-government. This prompted Judge Delorino to inhibit herself from the rebellion case.

If that is how Secretary Gonzalez reacts to court rulings that are unfavorable to the government, Im afraid he may also be tempted to say that the Supreme Court justices are anti-government because of the recent landmark rulings they have rendered on three controversial issues in which the government ended as loser, Pimentel said.

He said the justice secretary just could not accept the fact that the governments evidence in the rebellion case against the six party-list congressmen was weak.

The IPU, during its annual conference, also condemned the continuing violations of the human rights of the Burmese people and the refusal of the military junta of Myanmar to lift the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The endless human rights repression in Myanmar was brought to the attention of IPU by the Southeast Asian parliamentarians during the IPU confab.

Over the past two months, Pimentel said about 11,000 people belonging to the Karen tribe have been driven from their homes as the military rulers of Myanmar conducted a brutal anti-insurgency campaign in the eastern part of the country. Political observers said it was the most vicious attacks by the Burmese military in a decade.

The latest brutal campaign of the Myanmar military regime against the Karen ethnic minority in Eastern Burma is one latest proof that it does not deserve to stay in power a minute longer, he said.

During the Nairobi confab, Senator Pia Cayetano was elected as first vice president of the Womens Parliamentarians of the IPU.

We congratulate Sen. Cayetano on her election to the prestigious position which brings honor to the country, Pimentel said.

With the support of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and African blocs, Cayetano was elected to the post, beating contenders from Australia and other countries.

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