Sunday, February 26, 2006

Recyled raps filed vs Beltran

Inciting to sedition raps filed vs Beltran, Montano
First posted 02:02pm (Mla time) Feb 26, 2006
By Joel Francis Guinto

POLICE filed inciting to sedition charges against a left-wing lawmaker and a retired general late Saturday evening, hours after they were arrested while the country is under a state of national emergency.

Anakpawis Party-list Representative Crispin Beltran was brought to the Quezon City prosecutor's office for inquest proceedings at around 10 p.m., said Superintendent Benjamin delos Santos of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Legal Division.

An hour earlier, former Philippine Constabulary Chief Major General Ramon Montaño was subjected to inquest proceedings at the same office, Delos Santos said in a phone interview.

The inquest officer recommended the release of the two after questioning, but before they are freed, the release order has to be approved by the city prosecutor when the courts open on Monday, Delos Santos said.

Beltran is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame while Montaño is confined at the PNP General Hospital, which also inside police general headquarters, due to high blood pressure.

"The Philippine National Police believes that they [Montaño and Beltran] contribute to destabilization," PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao told GMA Network's radio station dzBB.

Beltran and Montaño were charged based on alleged seditious statements they issued last February 24, after an alleged foiled coup plot forced President Gloia Macapagal-Arroyo to issue Proclamation 1017, placing the country under a state of national emergency, Delos Santos said.

Beltran called for Arroyo's ouster at a rally at the EDSA shrine, while Montaño sent out a text message.

"We were invited for questioning but when I arrived in Camp Crame, General Lomibao told me I was under arrest because of the text message I sent," Montaño told reporters at the PNP General Hospital.

In a separate interview, retired police general Rex Piad, who was apprehended with Montaño while playing golf in Dasmariñas town, Cavite province on Saturday, said police did not take him into custody.

"They realized that they have nothing against me so they told me, thank you for heeding our invitation and you're free to go," Piad said.

Invoking the state of national emergency declaration, PNP Chief Director General Arturo Lomibao warned on Saturday of more arrests and takeover of media entities who pose a "clear and present danger" to government.

Also on Saturday, police "temporarily took over" the offices of the Daily Tribune offices in Manila.

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